The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Keeping an Eagle Eye On the Border

editorial

OVER THE WEEKEND, a Four-Party Meeting between representatives of the Government of Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the UN Operations in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) ended in Monrovia.

THE FOUR-PARTY Meeting 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 in June 13, 2012 which discussed security matters along the two countries' border, the extradition of Ivorian 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.

SPEAKING ON BEHALF of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan expressed the President's delight for the continuous progress Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire are making in terms of the security situation along the borders and the enhanced bilateral cooperation between the two sisterly countries.

HE NOTED THAT progress made under Liberia's security operation code named "Operation Restore Hope", witnessed the robust deployment of soldiers from the Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police and the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization at the border. Minister Ngafuan indicated that the meeting profoundly demonstrated the seriousness with which the two countries considered the need for regional peace and stability, and reiterated the Liberian Government's commitment not to allow its territory to be used to launch any subversive activities in any neighboring country.

FOR HIS PART, the head of the Ivorian delegation, Hamed Bakayoko, Minister of State, Interior and Security extended, on behalf of President Alassane Ouattara, heartfelt greetings to President Johnson Sirleaf and the people of Liberia.

WE COMMEND OFFICIALS of the two governments, UNMIL and UNOCI for the high level meeting intended to discuss the security situation along our border. We also laud the Liberian Government for the coordinated efforts in the restoration of peace along the Liberia/Ivorian Coast border and for the enhancement of peace and tranquility between the two sisterly countries.

WHILE WE COMMEND our government and that of the Ivorian Government, we are also concerned about the security situation along the border. That is, we want the two governments to keep an eagle eye on the border by monitoring every activity on both sides to prevent any eventuality that may tend to derail the peace process.

EQUALLY SO, WE are calling on the Liberian and Ivorian Governments to begin the implementation of a shared border strategy between the two Governments. In addition to security and humanitarian measures, we also want to encourage them to strengthen efforts in terms of a shared engagement on long-term stabilization issues related to development, reconciliation, food security, land issues, as well as demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration.

IF THESE ISSUES are adequately addressed, we believe that Liberia and the Ivory Coast will undoubtedly be peaceful nations and their citizens will live in perpetual peace and stability. Let our borders be properly monitored and that no country should encourage any covert activity along their borders that will affect the other countries.

IT IS OFTEN said that we must be our brothers' keepers and it is in this vein that we appeal not only to Liberia and Ivory Coast, but other sisterly countries not to allow their borders to be used for subversive activities because if one country is affected the rest of the MRU countries will also feel the weight.

AGAIN, WE CALL on Liberia and Ivory Coast to properly mind the border by keeping an 'eagle eye' on both sides to avoid any eventuality or disturbance like what was witnessed sometimes last year along the Liberian, Ivorian Border.

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