29 August 2017

Liberia: 'Long Standing Relationship,' Foreign Minister Tells Visiting Ivorian Delegation

Monrovia — Liberia's Foreign Minister, Marjon Kamara says the Republics of Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire have enjoyed long-standing and good relations especially sharing common border.

Speaking on the importance of good neighborliness, Foreign Minister Kamara told the visiting Ivorian Government delegation that both Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Alassane Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire, have stressed that every agreement that both nations signed years ago, should be revived.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Foreign Minister Kamara spoke Monday, August 28, when she welcomed a 24-member Ivorian Government delegation, in the country attending, along with their Liberian counterparts, a three-day Joint Commission Meeting.

"Our two leaders attach the utmost importance to the exercise that you are to begin."

"Our two countries have enjoyed long-standing relationship and we can consider that the meeting that will start today will serve to reenergize this relationship. We hope that your work won't be difficult because we have already been able to exchange documents," she stated.

Foreign Minister Kamara furthered that she and her Ivorian counterpart, Mr. Marcel Amon-Tanoh, hope that the work of the technical teams will be successful and will enable them to sign some agreements on Wednesday morning, last day of the three-day meeting.

"I want to reiterate the importance of concluding these agreements in the various sectors that we have identified and if you are able to do that you can even go beyond to look at what are some of the concrete steps that we should take immediately after," she stressed.

"Time is not on our side here as we have only few months. But we realize that the relationship that exists between our two Heads of State is so close that the least we can do is establish a platform on which the new government can continue from," she emphasized.

Minister Kamara reminded technicians from both countries that it is not only to conclude the agreements because they run the risk of just putting it on the shelves; adding: "To the extent that time will permit, we can envisage putting in our conversation immediate steps that we have to take to give life to what will be approved," she noted.

Also speaking, the Liberia's Deputy Minister for International Cooperation and Economic Integration, Mr. Dehpue Y. Zuo, thanked Liberia's Ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire, Mrs. Willye-Mai Tolbert King, for her hard work in making sure that the Joint Commission meeting has now come to fruition despite taking up her assignment just recently.

On the discussion, the Deputy Minister Zuo told the visiting Ivorian delegation that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants to make sure that all the technical reviews and all the Memoranda of Understanding are done at the Ministry by both countries' technical teams.

"One thing we want to say historically is that the two countries established very good neighborliness of which I am one of the beneficiaries as a Liberian, who was taught French in primary school by an Ivorian teacher," he said.

When it comes to good neighborliness, I know that Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire have very strong ties and these good things got disrupted by the civil war. Despite the civil crisis, we still hosted each other. So, it is about time that we go back to agreements and activities that will further strengthen our relationship to live together as a community," he emphasized.

Deputy Minister Zuo further stated that both Ivoirians and Liberians are brothers and sisters.

"We are the same families. I can cross and go to Côte d'Ivoire and speak Yakuba [a local tribe in La Côte d'Ivoire]; this means that we are the same people. But what we need to do here is to pen down the right documents to protect our two countries."

He assured them that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will remain open for any further discussions beyond the Joint Commission Meeting.

Responding, Mr. Louis Leon Boguy Bony, Ambassador, Director General of Bilateral Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Côte d'Ivoire, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Côte d'Ivoire, Mr. Marcel Amon-Tanoh, said they were honored to be in Liberia and for the warm reception accorded them since their arrival here.

Mr. Bony buttressed Minister Zuo's earlier remarks about both countries sharing common features, including history and geography and unfortunately sad moments as well.

"Our two Heads of State have decided to turn the page and open a new chapter in our relationship. Both Heads of State, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Mr. Alassane Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire, share the same vision and it's our job to make it work by implementing it," he said.

He used the occasion to introduce the members of the Ivorian delegation.


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