Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan on Monday, November 11, 2013, received in audience, the newly accredited Swedish and French Ambassadors Designate accredited near the Capital.
The two new European envoys’ courtesy calls with the Liberian Foreign Minister were held during two separate occasions held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill.
Their respective courtesy calls came a day to their respective presentation of Letters of Credence to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Both Ambassadors-Designate also presented copies of their respective Letters of Credence to the Foreign Minister.
During his meeting with the new French Ambassador Designate, His Excellency Mr. Joel Godeau, the Liberian Foreign Minister hailed France’s numerous aids to Liberia, beginning with France being one of the first European nations to recognize Liberia’s independence, stressing, “Since then, relations between both Liberia and France have been strong”, the Foreign Minister stated.
Minister Ngafuan also used the occasion to recollect France’s immense contribution to Liberia that helped the Paris Club waived the war-torn nation’s huge debts.
While lauding France for its direct involvement in the ongoing Malian crisis, the Foreign Minister then extended condolence on behalf of the Liberian Government to the French Government for the two French journalists that died in that troubled West African nation.
Foreign Minister Ngafuan however pleaded with the new French Envoy to place among his priority list the issuance of French or Schengen Visas here at its Sinkor Embassy to avoid the huge inconveniences both the ordinary and public Liberian officials undergo to obtain French and Schengen Visa. Liberians have to first go to the French Embassy in Abidjan, The Ivory Coast to sit visa interviews and subsequent issuance which can be costly.
In response, Ambassador-Designate Godeau promised to work with his Government in ensuring the issuance of visas here.
The new French Envoy also promised to use his tenure here for his country to develop economic relations with Liberia. The French Ambassador-Designate who presents his Letter of Credence to President Sirleaf Tuesday, November 12, 2013 then promised to encourage more French companies to invest in Liberia.
Mr. Godeau served as the Plenipotentiary Representative of France to the Caribbean Community prior to his appointment to Liberia, replacing Ambassador Gerard Larome who recently ended his tour of diplomatic mission to Liberia.
Earlier, the Swedish Ambassador-Designate, Her Excellency Ms. Sofia Strand met with the Foreign Minister, and assured the Minister of her fullest cooperation with the Liberian Government in enhancing the already good ties between the governments of Liberia and Sweden.
“We will be operating on a number of issues which in themselves are good”, Ambassador-Designate Strand told Minister Ngafuan.
For his part, Foreign Minister Ngafuan told the new Swedish Ambassador that Liberia’s little success story can not only be attributed to its visionary leadership but also to the country’s strong partners including Sweden.
Minister Ngafuan then recollected Sweden’s assistance to Liberia including the works it has been achieving through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Ms. Strand as appointed as ambassador to Liberia on September 11, 2013.
Her most recently served post was the Acting State Secretary at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She has previously served as Deputy Director at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Political Adviser at the Prime Minister's Office coordination office. Through her appointment, Sweden is switching from having an Ambassador based in Stockholm to having an Ambassador on site in Monrovia.
Both courtesy calls were also attended by Deputy Foreign Minister, Ambassador Sylvester Grigsby, Deputy Foreign Minister for International Cooperation and Economic Integration Elias Shonniya and Senior Ambassador-At-Large Marcus Koffa.