Foreign Minister Speaks on Liberia, Sierra Leone Ties

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Her Excellency Madam Olubanke King-Akerele has spoken of the remarkable progress Sierra Leone is making toward socio-economic development and democratization following years of unimaginable violence and instability.

Speaking at program marking the 49th Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Sierra Leone held at the Sierra Leonean Embassy near Monrovia, Minister King-Akerele said Sierra Leone resilience and determination to put the war years behind and forge ahead to improve the wellbeing of its citizens has solidity peace, stability and progress not only for that country but for the entire Mano River sub-region.

Minister King-Akerele who congratulates President Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone, said like the sisterly Republic, Liberia is committed to keeping the torch of peace and progress burning to inspire the dawning of a new era of prosperity in the sub-region.

Speaking further, Minister King-Akerele noted with deep appreciation, the harmonious relations happily subsist between Liberian and Sierra Leone, adding that the relationship which has been extensive and span over centuries has witnesses the cohabitation, cultural exchanges, intermarriages and trade amongst the peoples of the two countries.

Minister King-Akerele said the determination of the two countries to work closely together is further demonstrated by the enormous strides the two countries have made, noting that together and with other countries of the sub-region to resuscitate and strengthen the MRU.

According to Minister King-Akerele, the MRU provides an excellent opportunity as well as a framework to strengthen cooperation within the sub-region, in the areas of peace, security, and economic development.

She said as chair of MRU, Liberia is committed to working closely with Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire to realize the noble objectives set forth by MRU. The Foreign Minister noted progress made so far in returning Guinea to constitutional rule and added that elections will be held in June this year.

Minister King-Akerele used the occasion to congratulate the International Contact Group on Guinea of which Liberia has been representing the MRU as Member, for working with the people of Guinea to ensure a smooth transition.

Similarly, the Minister said “we are grateful for the improved situation in Cote d’Ivoire, especially the announcement of a new timetable for the holding of democratic elections. She said we need not to remind ourselves about the importance of peace and stability to development.

She called on the International community to remain engaged with these sisterly states to ensure overall stability in the sub-region, stressing that Liberia is committed to solidifying the already close ties subsisting between the two countries, and looks forward to exploring more areas of mutual interest for collaboration, as well as working together to ensure sustainable peace in the sub-region within the context of ECOWAS.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs vehemently rejected in the strongest term report attributed to Minister King-Akerele in the Thursday, April 29, 2010 Edition of the NEW DEMOCRAT Newspaper caption: Political Will Against Corruption Must Be Mustered.

The Ministry clarifies that at no time Minister King-Akerele say that the wave of corruption in the country is hindering economic growth and development, as alleged by the NEW DEMOCRAT.

Indeed, as part of Government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is actively engaged in responding to the challenges faced by the country in the fight against corruption which has seem concert results at the level of the Ministry.