French Ambassador to Liberia Joël Godeau has called on Liberians to prove France’s confidence in their abilities to conduct free, fair and transparent elections come October.
Amb. Godeau’s call for peaceful and transparent elections was contained in his keynote address at a program marking the celebration of the French national day, Bastille Day, observed on July 14, where he acknowledged the government and people of Liberia for their commitment to peace and stability. He stressed that nothing would have been possible without the collective support of the people of Liberia to the peace, which according to him, is the most precious common good.
The diplomat said his country is poised to support the remarkable work of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) until March 31, 2018, and will maintain the friendly relations with the country as they both share common values.
Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Marjon Kamara, also acknowledged France for its peaceful and democratic transition that led President Emmanuel Macron to power; wishing that a similar activity takes place in Liberia as the country moves closer to elections.
Minister Kamara recalled the long existing bilateral ties between Liberia and France, recounting the many benefits of the relationship, with one of the greatest being Liberia’s debt that was waived in 2012 by the Paris Club.
France has been active in helping to provide training for the Liberia National Police (LNP) as well as enhancing cooperation with the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
It may be recalled that in October 2016, a French Navy ship paid a visit to Monrovia, and in April of this year, a detachment of the French Army conducted an infantry training with the AFL.
France also supports health in Liberia through the TWIN 2H projects that are dedicated to hygiene. “France is keen to supporting the recovery of the Liberian economy and the boosting of its growth,” Amb. Godeau said.
One area of interest to France in Liberia is business, as is evidenced by some French multinational companies including TOTAL, CICA Motors, Bureau of Veritas/BIVAC, ORANGE, CFAO Group, and RENAULT operating in Liberia.
In his comment on the establishment of French businesses in Liberia, Godeau said, “We recall that the improvement of the business environment is a priority, and that the fight against corruption remains one of the main challenges to tackle, in order to pave the way to a sound and sustainable economic development.”
Bastille Day is an occasion where the French commemorate the founding of their country on July 14, 1780. Although France colonized most West African countries, Amb. Godeau said the rationale of celebrating the day is to remind people about the universal ideas of freedom, democracy, human rights, building a safer world free of terrorism, etc.
However, in spite of France’s efforts in the direction of peace building, the country has experienced a number of terrorist attacks; one of which was carried out last year on Bastille Day.
The celebration of Bastille Day in France coincided with the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump following Russian President Vladimir Putin. Amb. Godeau noted that their visits allowed France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, to discuss key issues on climate change and other global issues that are meant to help shape the world.