Liberia: Gov’t Seeks Cote d’Ivoire’s Support to Address Burkinabe Influx, Maritime Issues

— Holds strategic meeting on Land & Maritime Borders

Liberia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney A. Sirleaf, says the government of Liberia needs the cooperation of Cote d’Ivoire to find a solution to the Burkinabe influx particularly in the forest of Grand Gedeh, and parts of Nimba, River Gee and Maryland Counties.

“We are currently working on a strategy towards this problem, but it will require the cooperation and support of the borders and sisters1 of Cote d’ivoire because of the long and porous borders between both countries. We want to work with you as we engage authorities in Burkina Faso because we do not have a common border with them, but it is Côte d'Ivoire,” Sirleaf indicated.

Sirleaf made the remarks on Monday, February 6, 2023 at a one-day Contact Meeting of the structures in charge of border management held in Monrovia bringing together delegation from Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia Land Authority, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and Liberia Maritime.

Sirleaf said the strategic meeting also intended to develop an operational plan related to land and maritime borders based on the allegations of illegal mining, maritime piracy, deforestation, destruction of cross-border biodiversity and conflicts over waterways.

Sirleaf said the meeting is aimed at developing a strategic and operational actions plan taking into account all the issues related to the management of both countries' land and maritime borders.

“We have invited senior technicians of the relevant authorities of both countries to jointly develop this strategy taking into consideration the experience of Cote d'ivoire in developing similar strategies with Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ghana and Mali,” Sirleaf said.

Sirleaf said Liberia needs the cooperation of Cote d'Ivoire to find a solution to the Burkinabe influx particularly in the forest of Grand Gedeh, and parts of Nimba, Rivergee and Maryland Counties. 

He calls on the technicians to identify the common problems of border management, define areas of intervention and land water border and together both countries will make recommendations to respective authorities.

Executive Secretary of the National Border Commission of Cote d'Ivoire and head of Delegation to Liberia, Konate Diakalidia said his government remains prepared to work with the Liberian government in the interest of security, peace and development.

“It’s an opportunity for me to discuss all the matters related to border management. Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire have been two sister countries for a long time and the relation between our presidents,” Diakalidia said.

In addition, Diakalidia said both countries have family members living at the border and have been there for many years and this is why we should come together to address all the issues related to border management.

“The borderline between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire should be a zone of peace, development, integration and security and understanding for the well-being of our populations. This meeting will help us to brainstorm on all the matters that need to be handled,” he said.

The Commissioner-General of the Liberia Immigration Service, Robert W. Buddy said the Liberia Immigration Service remains a critical arm of the Ministry of Justice, and protection of the nation’s border.

“Border security is a critical issue and every country around the world takes it very seriously. Today, we are all sitting here and have peace to discuss these issues and this is due to the uninterrupted peace and the efforts made to have this peace,” Buddy said.