The Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr. Alaa Khairat Issa has assured Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara of his country’s willingness to train Liberian Foreign Service officers to learn the Arabic language.
“It is possible to do it and the mechanisms exist,” Ambassador Issa assured. However, he noted the mechanisms for that is not specific to his country’s Foreign Ministry but through education scholarships his country provides to Liberia annually.
He noted that some of the scholarships can go towards this specific request to the Egyptian Government. “I will see what the Agency for Development can do,” Ambassador Issa asserted.
According to a Foreign Affairs Ministry release, the Egyptian Ambassador made the commitment when he met with Minister Kamara during a courtesy call where the two exchanged views on Egypt-Liberia relations as well as other issues.
During the discussion, Foreign Minister Kamara appealed to Egyptian Ambassador Issa for his country’s assistance to train Liberian Foreign Service officers in the Arabic language.
“Our missions in the Arab world are suffering because we have very few people who are fluent in the Arabic language,” she said, adding, that being trained to speak and write Arabic makes a huge difference citing in-roads and better understanding in an Arab-speaking country.
She noted that the Foreign Affairs Ministry is looking at it from the perspective of training for Ambassadors and Foreign Service officers assigned to Arab-speaking missions as well as some personnel at the Home Office.
“We have to prepare our Foreign Service officers and the Home Office for diplomatic relations in the future,” Foreign Minister Kamara emphasized, adding that as the world gets smaller, one has to become versatile and multilingual to cope.
Earlier, Ambassador Issa extended thanks and appreciation to Minister Kamara for the audience accorded him and presented her a special message from her counterpart, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukr.
Responding, Minister Kamara said Liberia is pleased that the Arab Republic of Egypt very active on the international scene, especially occupying one of the non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, and Liberia has high expectations about Egypt’s interventions in that very important world organization that deals with African issues, which is about 80 percent.
“We are privileged to have Egypt there and are assured that Africa’s cause will be addressed,” she said.
Foreign Minister Kamara looked forward to working with the Egyptian Ambassador on ways to strengthen cooperation.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Minister Kamara also met with the Head of Mission at the African Union Liaison Office in Liberia, Mr. Prosper N. N. Addo.
During a courtesy visit, Mr. Addo thanked Minister Kamara for the audience, the first since she became Liberia’s Foreign Affairs Minister and commended her for the splendid work done so far.
He also, through Minister Kamara, congratulated President Sirleaf on her election as Chairperson of ECOWAS.
Regarding the status of the African Union Liaison Office in Monrovia, Mr. Addo said discussions are ongoing within the AU Peace and Security Council on President Sirleaf’s request to the AU Chairperson to reconsider the decision to transfer the AU Liaison Office from Liberia to Cote d’Ivoire. “I’m hoping that pretty soon we will get some information in that regard,” he said.
Earlier this year, the AU gave notice of the Commission’s decision to relocate its Liaison Office from Monrovia to Abidjan. The decision, the Commission stated, was necessitated by the fact that donors supporting the AU Commission have complained about lack of finances which has affected their overall contribution to the Commission. As such, the need has arisen for the adoption of austerity measures at the AU Commission.
However, Mr. Addo noted the importance of an AU presence in Liberia, particularly at this critical time; but more to that is the solidarity and support needed for the peace and stability of the country. “We remain committed to the objective and hope that something good will come out of this decision,” he said.
Mr. Addo noted that whether AU continues to remain here or the office is transferred to Abidjan, the presence of AU is still assured and there will be an engagement to ensure that the consolidation of the peace in Liberia is guaranteed. “It is critical because as Liberia gears up for elections, the AU presence is critical and going forward, Liberia is able to move on its own,” he said.
Responding, Minister Kamara thanked Mr. Addo for all the AU’s support to Liberia especially during the Ebola crisis. She hoped that until a decision is reached, they continue to collaborate and undertake those projects that they are currently engaged with.