President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has admitted President Alassane Dramani Ouattara into the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneer of the Republic of Liberia with the rank of Knight of Grand Cordon.
She recalled his many achievements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at a time when Liberia was just beginning its infrastructure development programs.
The Liberian leader said on assuming power through the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections in the Ivory Coast, President Ouattara has since been keen on resurrecting the cordial bilateral relations between Liberia and the Ivory Coast.
She said it was established by former Presidents Félix Houphouet-Boigny and William V. S. Tubman, dating to the 1950s.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Investiture Ceremony and Luncheon took place at the Executive Pavilion on Broad Street on Saturday,
July 15, amid huge turnout of senior government officials, including Vice President Joseph Boakai, the Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay, the Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic Corps, religious leaders and citizens.
The Liberian leader said that during the days of late President Tubman of Liberia and Félix Houphouet-Boigny of Cote d'Ivoire, both countries enjoyed cordial and friendly relations, living together in peace, until her own personal engagement with sitting President Alassane Dramani Ouattara at the International Monetary Fund. She said President Ouattara was of immense help to her.
The Liberian leader said she was honoring the Ivorian leader because since his ascendancy to the Presidency of the Ivory Coast, he has always respected the bilateral and friendly relations subsisting between Liberia and the Ivory Coast.
This, she said, has culminated into the Liberia-Joint Commission. The Liberian leader said the visit of President Ouattara to Liberia was a great honor for the people of Liberia.
Responding, President Ouattara said it was a great honor for him as sitting President of a neighboring country to be invited and honored with Liberia's highest honor.
The visiting Ivoirian President attributed the success of the bilateral relations between Liberia and the Ivory Coast to Presidents Tubman and Félix Houphouet-Boigny, which led to formation of the Joint Commission aimed at fostering closer relationship between both countries.
President Ouattara commended President Sirleaf and the people of Liberia for their achievements through peace and infrastructural developments which, he said, has won them more admirations around the today.
"I am deeply pleased and honored to accept this honor and mark of respect from you Madam President. Madam President, I want to appreciate you and the people of Liberia for that," the Ivorian leader noted.
He noted that the Liberian-Ivorian Joint Commission through which several peaceful meetings have been taking place between traditional Chiefs, Elders and Zoes both in Liberia and the Ivory Coast was a perfect avenue for promoting regional peace and development, economic cooperation, trade and commerce, energy and peaceful cooperation.
He then commended the government and people of Liberia.
President Ouattara said Liberia and Ivory Coast have been best of friends for a very long time ranging from the days of Presidents Tubman and Félix Houphouet-Boigny as the people of Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire share similar cultural values, tradition and population.
Earlier, at the Press Stakeout, both President Sirleaf and the visiting Ivorian leader pledged to support the Federal Government of Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram, which forbids the teaching of Western Education in Nigeria and has since waged war; burning down towns and villages in three of Nigeria's Northern States as well as Cameroun, Chad and Niger.
The Ivoirian leader was accompanied by Mr. Marcel A. Tanoh, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ally Coulibaly, Minister of Integration, Adama Tounhara, Minister/Special Advisor, among others.