Foreign Minister King-Akerele Extols Japan

STATEMENT BY H.E. OLUBANKE KING-AKERELE
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

ON THE OCCASION MARKING THE OFFICIAL TURN-OVER OF THE JAPANESE RICE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA
 BY THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN
AT THE FREEPORT OF MONROVIA
FRIDAY JULY 17, 2009
 
H. E. Ambassador Keiichi Katakami, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan
Mr. Makoto Fujimoto, Country Manager, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Liberia Field Office
Officials of Government
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

On behalf of Her Excellency, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and the Government and People of Liberia, I am immensely pleased to extend our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the Government and People of Japan for their friendship, cooperation, support and partnership with Liberia.

The bilateral ties subsisting between Liberia and Japan are longstanding and has been characterized, over the years,  by mutual respect, cordiality and an abiding commitment to the ideals and principles of the United Nations aimed at promoting international peace and security through cooperation with all peace loving people of the world.
                                                              / 1..

It is exceptional to note that even during the period of our civil crisis, spanning more then 14 years, the Government of Japan played a leading role in providing multilateral assistance for humanitarian interventions in Liberia.

Japan continues to identify with Liberia in several developmental areas especially with the rehabilitation of the Liberian-Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital, conducting a Master Plan Study on Urban Facilities Restoration and Improvement of a short and medium term development plan to improve road network, drainage system, water supply and environment (including sewer and solid waste management),The provision of capacity building training programs for Officials from a number of Government Ministries and Agencies among other.

Today occasion marks another important period in the relations between Japan and Liberia as we gather here to witness yet another fulfillment by the Government of Japan to the Government of Liberia.

In fulfillment of an effort by Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the formal Prime Minister of Japan, His Excellency, Shinzo Abe, when the two leaders agreed to further strengthen Japan- Liberia relationship in March 2007, and in response to President Sirleaf’s  request during an official meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan, Yasuo Fukuda at the TICAD IV held in May 2008 in Yokohama, the Government of  Japan is again  turning over to the Government of Liberia, 8,534.38 Metric tons of Japanese Rice for development purpose in Liberia.

We consider this initiative by Japan as a laudable effort in the realization of our Poverty Reduction Strategy. In this regard, we wish to highlight the unique future of this grant which will facilitate the establishment of a Counterpart Fund from proceed of sale of the rice. The said fund will facilitate the financing of development activities which in return will contribute to the achievement of the PRS objectives.

 We are very pleased that we can continue to count on Japan as one of Liberia’s partners in helping us to help ourselves recover from our terrible past.

As a manifestation of how much Liberia cherishes its relations with Japan, Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appointed a Resident Ambassador to Japan and we hope that this can be reciprocated by the Government of Japan as in the past.
I thank you.