Liberia’s Ambassador to France, Dr. C. William Allen, has acknowledged France’s numerous contributions to his country’s recovery period and expressed that Liberia will forever remain grateful to that European nation.
Making the statement while presenting his Letters of Credence on July 8, 2014 at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Ambassador Allen said “Liberia remains grateful to the people of France for their many support to it during the period of recovery from the 14 years of civil conflict.”
He told President Francois Hollande that after the period of catastrophe and anarchy in Liberia, France has provided financial and material support to the peacekeeping mission in Liberia and supported Liberia’s debt waiver.
He also acknowledged that France has donated non-lethal weapons to the Liberia National Police among other support to some Liberian institutions.
Ambassador Allen then welcomed recent decision by the French Development Agency to resume activities in Liberia with support for the country’s energy sector, particularly in the areas of transmission and distribution.
He called for more support to the Institute of French Studies, Alliance Francaise that promotes and provides instruction in the French Language and culture.
He recalled that Alliance Francaise has played a key role in educating Liberian students, educators and diplomats in the French Language thus promoting the understanding of the French Language among Liberians.
He also urged the French Government to consider expanding its Consular Services in Liberia to include the issuance of visas.
In addition to the request, Ambassador Allen said Liberia would like to see more French support for programs that promote regional integration and unity amongst Mano River Union and ECOWAS countries such as infrastructure projects funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Receiving the letters, French President Hollande in a brief remark lauded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the people of Liberia for assisting to restore peace in Mali by contributing a peace-keeping contingent to that sisterly West African Country.
President Hollande said the Liberian peacekeepers are helping to restore peace in Mali and their efforts are worth commendations.
President Hollande added that the presence of the French Development Agency in Liberia will further promote France-Liberia relations and assist Liberia in its recovery.
Liberia and France have enjoyed cordial relations since 1852 when France recognized Liberia as an independent country.
The new Liberia Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France is former President of the Press Union of Liberia, former Director General of the Civil Service Agency and former Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism of Liberia.
He holds the Doctor of Philosophy( Ph.D) in Mass Communication from Syracuse University, USA, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) California State University and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from the Pulliam School of Journalism, Franklin College.
Ambassador Allen took up his post in Paris, France in March this year.
Liberia and France have long history of relationship dating far back in the 1800s. France was among a few European countries to recognize Liberia’s premature independence in 1847, and has been involved in close diplomatic tie with Liberia.
France’s Ambassador had presented Letters of Credence to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf earlier, and the official takeover by Dr. Allen sums up the two countries’ diplomatic relations.
Unlike other European countries including Germany and Sweden that have history of concession with Liberia, France does not have, but Liberia has remained at the receiving end of its gesture just under mutualism.
Though the two countries’ relationship is solid, the stumbling block that impedes the flowing of their citizens in both countries is language barrier.
Not many Liberians speak French and the language is not emphasized in academic institutions in Liberia as may be done in French speaking countries in West Africa.