Liberia, France to Strengthen Tie in Defense Sector

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Minister Ziankahn, flanked by the French Diplomat and the Defense Attaché

Defense Minister Major General Daniel D. Ziankahn, Jr., (Rtd.), has called for reinforced relationship between the French Defense Sector and its Liberian counterpart. The Minister on February 9, 2021, said despite the cordial working relationship between the two countries, it will be more beneficial to the Liberian Defense Sector if both can reinforce the existing relationship to enable them deal with emerging threats such as piracy and terrorism.

A release from the Ministry of Defense quotes Minister Ziankahn as assuring the French delegation to Liberia of the country’s commitment to working along with the Government of France and learning from its maritime expertise that continues to benefit both the Liberian Coast Guard and staff of the Ministry of National Defense.

Minister Ziankahn lauded the Government of France for its valuable services being rendered to the Liberian Government, most especially the training of personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Ministry of National Defense by extension.

He lauded the French Defense Sector for their participation in the AFL pre-deployment trainings for peacekeeping operations in Mali, stressing that it has benefited the AFL in more ways such as lessening the fatality rate of Liberian troops deployed in that terrorist-prone West African state.

Liberia now has a peacekeeping contingent in Mali, serving with the United Nations Mission there, and France is a major force there, being a former colonial power, contending with the terrorist group based in the north.

Minister Ziankahn expressed his delight over the impact of maritime training on the Liberian Coast Guard.

The Defense Minister made these remarks when France Ambassador accredited to Liberia, H.E. Michaël ROUX, and Defense Attaché (resident in Abidjan), Colonel Xavier Clochard, paid him a courtesy visit at his Barclay Training Center (BTC) office on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

For his part, Ambassador Michaël ROUX said, “It is the interest of the French Government that the relationship with Liberia is reinforced.”

Ambassador ROUX revealed that Liberia needs to have more French-speaking officers to further enhance their relationship with officers of neighboring countries during joint operations. The French envoy urged the Ministry of National Defense to take advantage of training opportunities at Alliance Française that will enable soldiers of the AFL to learn the French language. Liberia has borders with two French speaking countries—Ivory Coast and Guinea.

In spite of this existing phenomenon, not much importance is attached to learning the language in academic institutions. It is casually learned here just as a required course that students hardly devote time to learning.

Also making remarks, Colonel Xavier Clochard said his government’s interests are in the areas of training for MINUSMA, Maritime Training, French Training and Research and Development (R&D).

He informed Minister Ziankahn that personnel of Liberia’s defense sector stand to benefit from trainings that are tailored to meet reality regarding emerging threats, especially in the area of intelligence gathering and sharing.

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