6 April 2013

Liberia: President Sirleaf Meets With Ivorian Minister of State, Interior and Security - Recommits to Ensure the MRU Basin Is Safe From Conflict

Monrovia — President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has again reaffirmed earlier commitments that leaders in the Mano River Union basin will ensure that each country within the sub-region is safe from conflict and none of them will let their territories be used to destabilize the other.

"We must exchange more information, and our colleagues must meet more often to be able to have joint plans so that they talk and exchange enough to ensure that we all keep our borders and our countries safe," the Liberian leader stressed.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the commitment when the Ivorian Minister of State, Interior and Security, Mr. Hamed Bakayoko and delegation paid her a courtesy call.

Minister Bakayoko, at the head of a 12-member Ivorian delegation, was in Monrovia to attend a High-Level Quadripartite Meeting between the Governments of Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire and supported by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the United Nations Operations in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI). The Meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry's C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium on Friday, April 5.

President Sirleaf expressed delight and wholeheartedly endorsed the plan to bring the elders and chiefs of the two countries together to have a meeting to talk about how they can work together in the area of development.

"I'm glad that you went beyond security to say that it is time to bring the people together to let them know that they are one; to let them know that they are safe in their country; to let them know that development is a prime objective of all of us," she said adding, "You can be sure to my personal and country's commitment to carry out what has been agreed in the meeting today."

The Liberian leader said she was also gratified by the support of the two United Nations Missions in Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire; but reminded all that both Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire must begin to prepare their own security to take prime responsibility for the safety of the two countries.

Earlier, the Ivorian Minister of State, Interior and Security, Mr. Bakayoko, speaking on behalf of the delegation said it was an honor to have been received by the Liberian President. On behalf of President Alassane Ouattara, he conveyed heartfelt greetings to President Sirleaf and the people of Liberia.

He thanked President Sirleaf for the warm reception accorded his delegation and for the coordinated efforts of both governments in the restoration of peace along their common border. Minister Bakayoko expressed confidence that the outcomes of the meeting would enhance peace, promote cooperation and address refugees' issues.

The Four-Party Meeting in Monrovia was held against the background of two previous High Level meetings respectively held on May 2, 2012 and June 13, 2012 to discuss issues relative to border security, justice, humanitarian and bilateral cooperation between Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire.

The meeting is a sequel to the first Quadripartite Meeting held in Abidjan on June 13, 2012 which discussed security matters along the two countries' border, the extradition of Ivorian of ex-combatants who fled into Liberia and were arrested as well as turnover of vehicles confiscated from Cote d'Ivoire and taken into Liberia. The last meeting specifically discussed matters of cooperation, dialogue, reconciliation and information exchange amongst chiefs and communities along the border, and actions to reactivate the Joint Commission between Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire.

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