Liberia's newly accredited Ambassador to Sierra Leone Mrs. Musu Jatu Ruhlehas pledged to work tirelessly and in concert with officials of that Government, to further solidify the already excellent relations subsisting between both countries and peoples.
"The natural ties that bind our two peoples transcend the physical boundaries. Liberia and Sierra Leone have so much in common: culture, language and tradition, among others," she said.
Highlighting the two countries' shared experiences, she stressed that today, both countries are applauded for their courage, strength and resilience. "Our countries are considered to be tested and positively evolving democracies; success stories of post-conflict recovery and firmly committed to peacebuilding and inclusive socio-economic development," she added.
According to a dispatch from Freetown, Ambassador Ruhle made the statement recently when she presented her Letters of Credence to President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone at State House.
Ambassador Ruhle succeeds Ambassador Jarjar M. Kamara, who has been appointed Senior Ambassador-at-Large, Republic of Liberia.
She indicated that the close relations nurtured between Presidents Sirleaf and Koroma have cascaded to the peoples of both countries.
"It is no surprise that the volume of cross border trade has increased significantly, involving imported goods and locally produced agricultural food items. Trade fairs on either side of the border are regularly attended by marketers from both countries. Security networks along our border are united in formulating strategies that foster peace, security and integration," she emphasized.
Ambassador Ruhle stressed that while the natural integration of peoples of both countries is a welcome phenomenon, she looks forward to strengthening cooperation with Sierra Leone as the world is becoming more challenging as criminals engage in transnational crimes, including drug and human trafficking, smuggling of goods and small arms.
She also highlighted the Mano River Union which has given confidence to its member states and provided a mechanism by which simultaneous infrastructural growth can be developed and sustained in the sub-region. "We look forward to collaborating with your government for the implementation of projects beneficial to the people of the Union. The ongoing initiatives for construction of road network, peacebuilding, security and environmental protection and progress towards the establishment of a sub-regional framework to sustain and ensure peaceful democratic transition in member states, all offer prospects for a brighter future," she added.
Accepting Ambassador Ruhle's credentials, PresidentKoroma first appreciated the warm sentiments and fraternal greetings extended to him, the Government and people of Sierra Leone by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
He indicated that both countries have long standing bilateral relations built on a platform of mutual trust, respect for sovereignty and the belief that all nations have the right to aspire for prosperity and peaceful co-existence. "Both countries have gone through turbulent times with civil wars in the 1990s and the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014 - 2015," he recounted.
President Koroma assured Ambassador Ruhle of his personal support and that of his Government and people in the accomplishment of her mission. "I also wish to acknowledge your desire to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between Sierra Leone and Liberia and to chart other areas of cooperation that will be beneficial to our two peoples," he said.
He noted that Liberia, in recent times, witnessed the plummeting of its post-war GDP that were unarguably and admirably the best but unfortunately not resilient enough to stem the fallouts from the outbreaks.
However, he stressed that the fortitude, patience and hope have paid off as both countries weathered the various storms; noting that in spite of such difficulties, they both have also celebrated years of democratic maturity, peace, security and stability; respect for human rights; and manifested, with tangible evidence, their aspirations for the attainment of sustainable and inclusive development.
On the democratic front, President Koroma said both countries, from the end of conflict at the turn of the century, have observed and enjoyed peaceful democratic transitions, and are on the verge of conducting elections, which hopefully and certainly, would receive local and global acclaims as well as accolades as being peaceful, transparent and fair.
On the global front, he said, as developing countries, both have had convergent views in their global engagements.
He on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone expressed deep sense of gratitude to President Sirleaf, the Government and people of Liberia for the outpouring of condolence messages, financial resources, medical and emotional support following the August 14 mudslides and flooding disaster that claimed the lives of an uncountable number of his compatriots while wreaking untold havoc in the hillside communities.