Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: Communist Party Braces for Stronger Collaboration With APC

In further lifting the bars of cooperation between the People's Republic of China and Sierra Leone, the Deputy Director-General, Bureau of African Affairs, International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Sierra Leone's envoy to that country have agreed to work closely at the political level since both the CPC and the APC have had long standing friendship and sound collaboration which has today helped in strengthening the state-to-state relations.

This decision came on Wednesday 30th July during a courtesy call on Wang Heming, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of African Affairs at the International Department of the Central Committee Communist Party of China by Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh.

Receiving the Sierra Leonean diplomat, Mr. Heming said he was familiar with the political background of Ambassador Foh given his service to the governing All People's Congress in Sierra Leone as Secretary-General for close to a decade and as someone that "has contributed to the promotion of party-to-party relations between the CPC and the APC", noting that the decision by President Ernest Koroma in appointing Ambassador Foh "shows the level of importance that is attached to China by your country". He expressed optimism that the appointment of the envoy to China will further help to lift the party-to-party relations between the All People's Congress (APC) and Communist Party of China (CPC).

In his response, Ambassador Foh, on behalf of President Koroma who is Leader and Chairman of the governing APC in Sierra Leone, extended a hand of friendship to the CPC leadership. At the level of governance, Ambassador Foh said both parties and governments are intricately related and therefore commended the CPC "for China's support to Sierra Leone", referring to China as "a great country that is giving Sierra Leone big and meaningful development assistance".

According to Ambassador Foh, his appointment by President Koroma was to further cement the already excellent ties between the two countries. He promised to do all he could to see a surge in the "excellent relations between the APC and the CPC that were laid by the late President Siaka Stevens of Sierra Leone and late Chairman Mao Zedong of China".

Ambassador Foh informed Mr. Heming that before now, the CPC has been making meaningful contribution to the All People's Congress but however called for more to be done "as we would want to see how our ties continue". He added that there are two institutions in the APC that need the attention of the CPC, namely the Youth League and the Women's Wing. He expressed the need for support in the form of scholarships to the party. "We don't expect it to be in greater numbers but China, being the future of the world and with the greatness of the CPC, we (APC) stand on firm ground in asking for your consideration in whatever you are doing," he said.

Ambassador Foh also extended invitation to the CPC to visit the APC "for further interaction and collaboration".

Updating the CPC chief on development back home, Ambassador Foh stated that under the leadership of President Koroma, Sierra Leone has been transformed into a works yard. He commended the support and great work of Chinese engineers in this direction and also paid special tribute to the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone for encouraging trustworthy investors into Sierra Leone.

Reacting, Wang Heming assured the ambassador that future cooperation between the two parties will go beyond partnership but will take into account friendship and a brotherly relationship. He thanked Ambassador Foh for the high-level trust that Sierra Leone has placed on China and the CPC,while stating that there has been a long-term friendship and sound collaboration between the two parties which eventually has led to an encouraging trend in the state-to-state ties.

According to Mr. Heming, there have been strong bilateral supports between the two countries and assured that "the CPC stands ready to widen and strengthen the relationship with the APC". He also officially informed the ambassador about a pending visit to China by a 10-man APC delegation in August, to be led by the party's Secretary-General, Osman Foday Yansaneh.

On a pending China-Africa Youths Leadership Forum in September, Heming promised to invite two representatives from the APC. He also committed that the CPC will work towards visiting Sierra Leone by the second half of this year and hoped to see a "closer cooperation between the two parties by the second half of this year.

The presentation of a red Sierra Leonean dress to Heming by Ambassador Foh climaxed the visit.

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