New Democrat (Monrovia)

19 December 2012

West Africa: ECOWAS Assists Ivorian Refugees

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has donated 300,000 metric tons of rice to Ivorian Refugees residing in Liberia as a way of identifying with their growing humanitarian needs.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre' De'sire Ouedraogo already met with the over 60,000 Ivorian refuges currently residing in southeastern Liberia during his current three-day visit here.

The refugees had been forced to flee Cote d'Ivoire after that country's post-election violence which erupted in November 2010, when many innocent civilians, including women and children lost their lives.

Mr. Ouedraogo also disclosed Tuesday that over US$500,000 was spent to import the rice.

"I am very pleased to be in Liberia for the very first time," Mr. Ouedraogo told journalists Tuesday at the Ministry of Finance.

"Our mission here is to give humanitarian support for Ivorian refuges residing within the borders of Liberia. We've brought in 300,000 tons of rice for Ivorian refuges living in Liberia" he added.

He praised the Liberian government for the hospitality shown Ivorian refugees in Liberia.

Finance Minister Amara Konneh later thanked ECOWAS for the gesture, and lauded the sub-regional bloc for its pivotal role played in Liberia's peace building process.

"ECOWAS has been a strategic group in our peace building process," Mr. Konneh said. He added: "During our civil conflict, ECOWAS played a significant role for the restoration of peace in Liberia and the region. Today, as I speak to you, ECOWAS has successfully monitored two elections in Liberia. They've also monitored the election in Sierra Leone and Guinea. She's doing well to keep the region peaceful."

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