The new Ivoirian Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Dr. Feni Kouakou, on Tuesday, January 5, presented his Letters of Credence to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia. In addition to Liberia, Ambassador Kouakou is accredited to the African Union (AU) and Sierra Leone.
President Sirleaf said she was glad to receive the new diplomat and over the profound friendship both countries continue to enjoy. The President indicated that she firmly recognizes the spirit of collaboration that subsists between the two nations. She stressed the warmth embedded in the Liberia-Cote d'Ivoire ties that extends to the level of the Mano River Union and ECOWAS.
President Sirleaf called for the strengthening of improved regional and economic cooperation.
In spite of the conflicts that have engulfed the MRU in recent years, she said it is imperative to appreciate states that were once riddled with upheavals that have transitioned and are currently treading the paths of peace and economic development.
The President recounted the special "brotherly" relationship between the late Presidents William V.S. Tubman and Felix Houphouet Boigny throughout their respective administrations.
Ambassador Kouakou lauded President Sirleaf and Liberians for the warm hospitality accorded him since his arrival, praised the President for her astute leadership and paid her tribute for being Africa's first democratically elected female President.
He said there is a lot to learn from President Sirleaf in view of her enormous experience in both the public and private sectors. "Your exemplary and distinguished service, Madam President, renders you a monument and a fountain of knowledge and as such we can [learn] a great deal from you," Ambassador Kouakou noted.
He also thanked President Sirleaf for encouraging Cote d'Ivoire to join the MRU, which he said represents a building block for regional integration. Ambassador Kouakou said there is an urgent need to reignite the Joint Commission "to foster closer economic cooperation."
The new Ambassador succeeds compatriot Kapieletien Soro who departed Liberia in September 2015 after serving a four year term. At a ceremony commemorating his departure, President Sirleaf commended him for his immense contribution to the mutual peace and stability between the two countries.
President Sirleaf praised Amb. Soro for his active role in ensuring that the Zwedru Peace Initiative was a success in enhancing common unity, building confidence and promoting good neighborliness between both countries. She expressed the hope that the reciprocation of the Guiglo meeting, which is delayed due to some technical problems, will soon come to fruition.