- Published on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:18
- Written by The News
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received Letters of Credence from two new Ambassadors at separate ceremonies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia on Monday, March 18, 2013.
They include the Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Australia to Liberia, Her Excellency Mrs. Joanna Marie Adamson and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Liberia, His Excellency Mr. Fergus Cochrane-Dyet.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf noted with satisfaction the enormous contributions of the Government and people of Australia in support of peace and stability, and in further of development of Liberia's economy.
“Your government's assistance to the joint UN-Government of Liberia Justice and Security Trust Fund (JSTF) has gone a long way towards supporting critical security sector reform initiatives in Liberia, particularly toward improvements of the institutional and operational capacities of the Liberian National Police,” the Liberian leader.
She added that Australia's immense contributions to the restoration of peace to Liberia did not come as a surprise. The Australian Government provided about US$1 million to the Justice and Security Trust Fund to support security sector reform.
The President also thanked the Australian Government for its contribution to UNICEF's National Youth Service Program (2011-2013), which has helped advance youth employment and empowerment across various regions in Liberia.
She expressed gratitude for the 20 Australian scholarships which continue to positively impact the country's human capacity development program.
On the economy, President Sirleaf noted with satisfaction the various Australian companies that are actively involved in mineral exploration, each committing millions of dollars for exploration and capital expenditure.
Among the 10 Australian companies actively engaged in Liberia are: BHP Billiton, Planet Minerals Ltd., and West African Geo Service Inc.
“These laudable efforts, Madam Ambassador, are indicative of the strong, harmonious and cordial ties we have enjoyed. Furthermore, they continue to strengthen the foundation of our bilateral and diplomatic relations,” the Liberian leader observed.
She stated that Liberia is well on the path of reconstruction and restoration, “thanks to the various international partnerships we have forged which have resulted into significant security, political and economic achievements.”
The President added, “As we celebrate another milestone in our relationship by your presentation of these credentials, we are optimistic of the positive outcomes this long-standing relation will derive, further cementing diplomatic ties of cooperation and friendship.”
She assured Ambassador Adamson of Liberia's cooperation and assistance in ensuring her successful tour of duty.
Also presenting her Letters of Credence to President Sirleaf earlier, Her Excellency Mrs. Joanna Marie Adamson called it an exciting time to have been appointed the Commonwealth of Australia's Ambassador to Liberia, especially when relationship between both countries is rapidly growing.
She expressed her government's commitment to working closely with the Liberian Government in fostering bilateral relations to a new level.
Highlighting some of the Australian companies actively exploring in Liberia, she said: “These companies are committing several million dollars in exploration and capital expenditure which will bring development and employment to Liberians and government revenue as well.”
Ambassador Adamson said Australia recognizes the importance of effective mining governance to ensure that the people of Liberia get a just return on their mineral assets.
“Mining governance is therefore a key element of our development assistance program,” she pointed out.
Receiving the letters of credence from the Ambassador of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, His Excellency Mr. Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, an An Executive Mansion release said the Liberian leader expressed appreciation to Great Britain and other partners for the significant role played in the country's reconstruction following the civil conflict.
Recounting Liberia's problems due to the civil conflict that left thousands of Liberians displaced, infrastructure destroyed and the economy left in virtual ruins, President Sirleaf pointed out that despite these immense setbacks, significant progress has been made to put Liberia back on track.
She said the gains achieved under the just-concluded Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) today form the basis for further development initiatives under the new Agenda for Transformation which seeks to propel Liberia to a middle-income country by 2030.
“In all this, we gladly recognize and appreciate the meaningful role played by Great Britain and other partners in achieving these results,” the Liberian leader noted, adding, “We are especially grateful to your Government for its assistance to Liberia in the areas of security, health, good governance, reconstruction, and poverty reduction; and for its instrumentality in ensuring that Liberia achieved full waiver of its external debts.”
The Liberian leader welcomed the reopening of the British Embassy near Monrovia, with the accreditation of a Resident Ambassador. This development comes about a year after British Foreign Secretary, William Jefferson Hague, announced to Parliament, in February 2012, additional plans to open an Embassy in Liberia.
“The gesture is a further indication of a renewed confidence in our recovery process, and of the promise for stronger ties of cooperation,” President Sirleaf said.
She informed Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), founded and sponsored by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair which is working with Liberia to enhance the country's governance system.
President Sirleaf also named the Department for International Development, which has contributed immensely to the Health Sector Pool Fund as well as the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund.
“Such assistance has made it possible for Government to begin offering free health care services and expanding the coverage and quality of these services,” she noted with deep gratitude.
The Liberian leader said the participation of Prime Minister Cameron, at the head of a high-level delegation on the post-2015 High-Level Panel Meeting which convened in Monrovia in January, is a clear manifestation of the United Kingdom Government's willingness to collaborate within international mechanisms to address global development challenges, and to work to strengthen bilateral relations with Liberia.
Speaking earlier, Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet stressed that the decision by the British Government to return a Resident Ambassador to Monrovia and open an Embassy is proof of the immense progress that Liberia has made in the last ten years and represents a vote of confidence in Liberia's future.
He recalled that Britain and Liberia have a long history of friendship. “Britain was the first country formally to recognize the Republic of Liberia when it was born over 150 years ago. We shared a common purpose then in opposing slavery,” he noted, adding, “Today we share many common purposes – global, regional and bilateral.
Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet cited the decisions of both countries to deploy small military contingents in support of the international effort in Mali, which is a testimony to both countries' mutual interest in building peace and prosperity in Liberia and the West African region; and secondly, that both President Sirleaf and the British Prime Minister are co-chairs of the UN High- Level Panel discussing the future development agenda.
He said Britain looks forward to playing its part in Liberia's development, in partnership with the European Union, the United States, and as a leading actor in international bodies like the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund.
“As British Ambassador I look forward to working with the Liberian Government and with the private sector – in the United Kingdom and Liberia – to deepen trade and investment ties,” he promised, pointing out that the holding of two UK-Liberia Investment Forums indicate the mutual desire to deepen commercial ties.
Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet also named Britain's support to Liberia through its Department for International Development (DfID), which focuses on strengthening delivery in the health sector and improving infrastructure through 2015. “DfID would establish a small staff presence in Monrovia to increase our wider policy engagement. We now have a DfID Country Coordinator present in-country who will be co-located with the British Embassy,” Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet informed the President.
Mr. Cochrane-Dyet, who will be the first resident Ambassador to Liberia since the early 1990s succeeds Mr. Ian Hughes who covers Liberia but resides in Freetown, Sierra Leone.