Photo Credit: Public Affairs
Liberia’s long-standing ties with the four countries were interrupted due to the Liberian civil war. The Ambassadors congratulated President Sirleaf for her re-election as President for a second term, for winning the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, and for her efforts in rebuilding the country’s broken infrastructure and economy.
Receiving the Norwegian Ambassador, His Excellency Tom Tyrihjell, President Johnson Sirleaf recalled some of the positive interventions made by Norway, including support to the Emergency Power Program, support to United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Liberia, as well as activities of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) which promotes women and children issues. The President urged the new Ambassador to support Liberia’s reconstruction effort over the next six years in the new era of Norway-Liberia relations.
The President pointed out that her administration is working to move away from simply exporting raw materials from Liberia, to manufacturing. The implementation period for the Poverty Reduction Strategy has ended, she said, pointing out that a transformative national development agenda, Vision 2030, is being developed.
earlier, Ambassador Tyrihjell thanked the President for acknowledging
the benefits of Liberia-Norway relations, and said his Government is
overly pleased with the selection of the Liberian President as one of
the joint winners of 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
Ambassador Tyrihjell cited humanitarian assistance, emergency power and the protection of women and children through the NRC as some of the interventions made by Norway. He stated his country’s commitment in helping to provide clean energy to the Liberian people, and promised that Norway will stand by Liberia in its developmental drive and the overall recovery process. He also declared Norway’s support for the President’s efforts to restore the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant.
At the ceremony for the presentation of credentials of the Danish Ambassador, His Excellency Carsten Nilaus Pedersen, President Sirleaf praised Denmark’s support to Liberia through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Program on gender equality and women’s empowerment, the waiver of Liberia’s debts, support to Ivorian refugees in Liberia and support towards the country’s reconstruction drive. The President also encouraged Danish investment in Liberia, particularly with the discovery of oil and the need to privatize public sector entities aimed at promoting efficiency and productivity.
In response, Ambassador Pedersen recounted Denmark’s support to Liberia, including the MDGs project, and added: “The implementation period of the project is coming to a close, but we will work with our Liberian partners to ensure continuation.”
The Danish Ambassador Pedersen further informed President Johnson Sirleaf that his Government has a policy of encouraging business groups to look towards Africa, which in his view, holds the future for global economic development. Denmark, he said, is also poised to support the West African Power Pool which will also benefit Liberia, and looked forward to strengthened relations with Liberia over the next few years.
At the ceremony to receive the Ambassador of Belgium, His Excellency Peter Huyghebaert, the Liberian President recalled that Liberia-Belgium relations date back to 1859 when a technical agreement was signed the two countries. She expressed appreciation that Belgium remained engaged with Liberia even during the conflict years and that Brussels Airlines became the first to make international flight to Liberia.
The Liberian leader informed the Ambassador that she inherited a country with dysfunctional institutions – a situation that has changed over the years – and she expressed delight that the problem with the Euro is now under control as announced by the European Central Bank. The Liberian leader also acknowledged and complimented Belgium’s support to Liberia’s power sector.
Ambassador Huyghebaert lauded Belgium’s long-standing relations with Liberia and reflected on his country’s achievements in Liberia over the years. He said that the resumption of direct flights to Monrovia by Brussels Airlines, during a very difficult period in Liberia’s history, had strengthened Belgium-Liberia ties. The Ambassador sees economic development as key to Liberia’s recovery, and promised to help bring more Belgian companies to Liberia. The private bilateral talks that followed focused mainly on trade and international issues.
In receiving the new Turkish Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Yalcin Kaya Ernsoy, President Johnson Sirleaf called for Turkey to increase good relations with Africa. She commended the role of the Turkish police contingent in UNMIL. She reiterated that Liberia has always worked within the framework of both ECOWAS and the African Union to promote regional economic cooperation, and that the country looks forward to a bilateral understanding that targets Liberians for scholarships and international training. “Turkey’s role in Liberia’s rebuilding is anticipated and encouraged,” she said.
response, Ambassador Ernsoy noted Turkey’s increasing relations with
Africa, including Liberia. He highlighted the impact of the
Turkish-African Cooperation Summit held 2008 in Istanbul, Turkey. He
indicated that as a result of the 2008 Summit, over US$65 million was
spent on Africa last year alone, and promised that the support could
Ambassador Ernsoy informed President Johnson Sirleaf that as a result of the 2011 Conference on Least Developed Countries, US$200 million has been put aside for scholarships and technical support, and he pledged to work to ensure that Liberia benefits. The Turkish Ambassador further informed the Liberian President that he looks forward to negotiating with the authorities of Turkish Airlines for direct flights to Monrovia.
The Norwegian Ambassador is resident in Accra, Ghana, with oversight on Liberia, Mali and Ghana; The Danish envoy is also resident in Accra. The Belgian Ambassador is resident in Côte d’Ivoire, with oversight of that country as well as Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Turkish Ambassador is also based in Abidjan, with oversight on Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.