President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in separate ceremonies, received Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Kuwait and of the Republic of Zambia on Friday, November 30.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf received, in audience, His Excellency Dr. Hamad Muhammad Burahmah, the new Ambassador of Kuwait, who is resident in Dakar, Senegal, covering all of West Africa except Nigeria and Ghana.
The new Zambian Ambassador, His Excellency Paul William Lumbi, is resident in Abuja, Nigeria, with oversight responsibilities for seven West African countries, including Liberia, Togo, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.
At the presentation ceremony, Ambassador Burahmah conveyed the compliments of the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jabar Al-Sabah, to President Sirleaf and pledged to promote the good relations between Liberia and the Kingdom of Kuwait. He recounted Liberia’s positive cooperation and support in the past, including during Kuwait’s conflict with Iraq in 1991.
During that conflict, Ambassador Burahmah said, Liberia’s then Ambassador to the United Nations delivered a strong address condemning Iraq for its action against Kuwait, and called for tough measures against the invader. “This singular action from Liberia, along with many others that followed, led the international community into action against Iraq – an initiative that ensured Iraq’s withdrawal from Kuwaiti territory,” Ambassador Burahmah recalled.
The new Kuwaiti Ambassador recognized Liberia’s belief in the freedom and independence of all nations of the world, as demonstrated during the conflict with Iraq, and urged President Sirleaf to uphold such principles. He said that Kuwait has a strong interest in Liberia’s progress and development, and will therefore continue its support to the rebuilding process. “We will have a strong focus on humanitarian support to Liberia by engaging the many humanitarian foundations in Kuwait with programs that support housing, education, health and infrastructural development in poor, fragile and war-affected nations,” he said.
Ambassador Burahmah promised to promote more private sector partnerships that would see private investors from Kuwait invest in the Liberian economy. He later presented a copy of a book he authored to President Sirleaf, titled “Water Crises in the Middle East: Options for Solving Water Disputes.”
Responding, President Sirleaf thanked the Emir of Kuwait for accrediting an Ambassador to Liberia, and recalled the numerous contributions made to Liberia, including support to a road project, debt waiver, Liberia’s Embassy in Kuwait, and peacekeeping. “Liberia-Kuwait relations restarted recently, during the current government, and I proceeded with an official visit to Kuwait thereafter,” President Sirleaf said. She reminded Ambassador Burahmah that key components of the existing bilateral agreement with Kuwait, including the feasibility study and the subsequent pavement of the Gbarnga-Mendekorma Highway, are on course.
President Sirleaf reminded the Kuwaiti Ambassador about the Kingdom’s commitment to establish a diplomatic mission here in Liberia, and reaffirmed Liberia’s support for such an undertaking. “Establishing a Kuwaiti mission in Liberia will foster and strengthen the existing ties to the benefit of both countries and peoples,” President Sirleaf suggested.
She told the new Ambassador that Liberia has had a long-standing relationship with Kuwait, dating as far back as the early 1970s when she served as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finance – relations that held until the outbreak of the Liberian civil war in 1989. The President promised Liberia’s participation in the Arab-Africa Summit scheduled to take place in Kuwait in November 2013.
Speaking earlier, at his presentation ceremony, Ambassador Lumbi of Zambia congratulated the Liberian leader for the tremendous progress her administration has made in transforming the once devastated and broken nation into a peaceful, democratic and progressive country in Africa. “By such achievement, Liberia has shown the world that progress and people-based democratization in countries devastated by war and civil unrest is possible,” he said.
Ambassador Lumbi pledged to do everything possible to enhance Zambia-Liberia relations. He acknowledged Liberia’s strong role in Zambia’s achievements in the struggle for the liberation of the African continent, adding that the late Presidents William V. S. Tubman and Kenneth Kaunda played pivotal roles.
Ambassador Lumbi told the Liberian leader that most of Africa’s problems can be solved by increased investment in agriculture, due to the availability of vast and productive land across the continent. “From my personal observation and other sources of information, you are doing pretty well with the governance of the country, and I hope that you continue in such direction,” the new Zambian Ambassador concluded.
Responding, the Liberian President welcomed the Zambian Ambassador and recounted his country’s role in promoting Africa’s independence, acknowledging Liberia’s contribution in working with front-line States. She also recounted the Tubman-Kaunda’s friendship and its impact on Liberia-Zambia relations.
The Liberian President praised Zambia for its role in the regional bodies in southern and central Africa, emphasizing that the work of such bodies supports and promotes regional integration. She thanked Zambia for its contribution to the many peacekeeping efforts in Liberia, which has seen the country enjoy over nine years of peace. She also stated that bilateral ties between the two countries will enhance the sharing of experience on mining and other sectors of their respective economies.