Liberia: President Weah Returns Home After Franco-African Summit - Holds Bilateral Talks

President George Manneh Weah has returned home after a two-day official visit to Brazzaville, Congo where he received a rousing and elaborate welcome. The President was in the Great Lakes Region to honor an invitation as a Special Guest of His Excellency, President Denis Sassou Nguesso on the eve of the Franco-African Summit.

While in the Congo, President Weah used the visit to foster bilateral relations with the Central African Republic and explore avenues for development and investment in Liberia. President Weah and his Congolese counterpart discussed several ways a Liberia-Congo partnership could be strengthened for the purpose of mutual benefit to both countries.

High on the agenda was the need to establish Embassies in both Countries. President Weah informed his counterpart that though there are strong ties of personal friendship between the both of them, there is a need to now utilize their friendship to bring the two countries closer together for the mutual benefit of their people.

President Weah also used the visit to remind his Counterpart that both Liberia and Congo have always shown a track-record of working in the interest of peace in their respective regions and on the African continent. He underscored the need to continue to make these efforts in support of continental integration, through the advancement of the principles of the African Union (AU), and the United Nations.

"Although we belong to different regions, our interests have always been the same in terms of peace and stability on the African continent, because without these two factors, the prospects of our development and progress will always be limited." President Weah said.

President Weah then used the occasion to acknowledge some of the developmental challenges and experiences both Liberia and Congo face in relation to the high degree of youthful populations who are yearning for change, and the need to empower through education and technical skills.

The Liberian leader further intimated that the development of youths into productive citizens should always be the primary focus for both countries; and underscored the need to be very careful so as to prevent people of ill-will from trying to use their young citizens for agitation and violence.

President Weah stressed the need for both countries to combine their resources and align their efforts to create a more integrated partnership to overcome the challenges they share in common.

In closing, President Weah proposed to his counterpart the establishment of a Bi-national Commission, whose purpose shall be to enhance and strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. This Commission shall be comprised of selected Ministers who will be designated by their respective governments, and who will collaborate in their respective sectors to share their experiences and explore avenues for mutual assistance.

The Liberian Chief Executive also said he would like to see the diplomatic representations between Liberia and Congo advanced to the Ambassadorial levels; and that the newly-established Bi-national Commission should explore the possibilities to export low-cost crude oil from Congo-Brazzaville to Liberia, which could then be used as feed-stock to rehabilitate our refining capacity.

For his part, President Denis Sassou Nguesso expressed great delight and appreciation to President Weah for the visit and wholeheartedly welcomed the proposals put forth for the mutual benefit of both countries. The Congolese leader asserted that he wants to build a serious partnership with Liberia, and not just mere talk. He welcomed the need to have both countries strengthen their bilateral relations by opening Embassies in their respective countries; and promised to send a team to Liberia shortly to assess the possibility and also to assess areas his government can be of practical assistance to Liberia.

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