New Democrat (Monrovia)

1 May 2013

Liberia: MRU Battles Cross-Border Crimes

Leaders of the Mano River Union have stressed the need to fight against human trafficking, the circulation of illicit drugs and small and light weapon trade within the four member countries.

Addressing the Ministerial Council Meeting of the 22nd Ordinary session in Monrovia, the leaders further warned against drug trafficking, cattle theft and maritime piracy amongst member countries.

This comes in the wake of high level of drugs and human trafficking in Africa, especially in countries such as Liberia with weak drug laws

Recently in Conakry, Guinea, the MRU Heads of State made referrenc to progress and challenges faced by the Union. On the occasion of the visit to Conakry, on March 10, 2013 of Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Liberia, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, and Alassane Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire to join their colleagues of Guinea, the four leaders commended efforts by the MRU Secretariat for restructuring the Union.

They expressed commitment to giving new dynamics to the sub-regional organization through the integration of infrastructures, construction of MRU Headquarters in Freetown and achievement of food security.

Sierra Leonean Minister of State, Finance and Economic Development, Alhaji Foday Mansaray, has called for road network among the four Mano River Union (MRU) countries, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast. Mr. Mansaray said roads connectivity is essential for the smooth operation of trade and commerce in the subregion.

Addressing the Mano River Union Ministerial Council Meeting in Monrovia over the weekend, he urged member states to commit to the construction of roads connecting Freetown, Monrovia, Abidjan and Conakry.

He noted that the roads connectivity has not been observed by the Union since its existence forty years ago, stressing that the issue should be addressed before the celebrations of the MRU 40th anniversary in October this year.

Also making remarks, Liberia's Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan, called for a grand celebration of the Union's 40th anniversary as member countries focus on developmental issues in the region.

He noted that unlike the past, there were crises all over the region, saying "It is plus for [us] in the MRU region that we are focusing on development and it is a need that we celebrate this." Ngafuan also called for improvement in air transportation in the region, which he described as a joint challenge for member countries.

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