Liberia and Ivory Coast have begun to strengthen their diplomatic and economic relationship to ensure that citizens of both countries, especially those at the border communities, many of whom share the same dialects and are inter-married, continue to live in peace.
In ensuring this plan works, the leaders of both countries, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Ivoirian counterpart, Alassane Ouattara, have initiated what is termed as the meeting of Joint Council of Chiefs and Elders (JCCE).
In an effort to continue on this peaceful path and ensure more cohesion among citizens of both countries, President Ouattara and President Sirleaf have expressed the desire to organize another meeting of the JCCE in Guiglo in July next year.
According to a communiqué signed in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where President Sirleaf paid a two-day working visit, (April 26 & 27) the meeting continued the dialogue and consultations launched by the two countries in the Southeastern city of Zwedru.
The Zwedru meeting was attended by several hundred traditional chiefs and elders from bordering communities in Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Maryland and River Gee counties of Liberia, as well as those from Guiglo, Danané, Tabou and Tai of Ivory Coast.
Also in attendance were authorities from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), as well as government officials of the two countries.
Justice Minister, Cllr. Benedict Sannoh signed for Liberia while the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, S.E.M. Charles Koffi Diby signed for Ivory Coast.
The Ivorian leader reaffirmed the solidarity to the Government and people of Liberia, deeply scarred by the consequences of the Ebola virus disease and congratulated President Sirleaf and the Government for the remarkable efforts in the fight against the epidemic.
For her part, President Sirleaf expressed the wish that Liberia could benefit from the expertise of Ivory Coast especially in the development of agriculture to ensure food security.
On the international scene, the two leaders discussed various presidential elections, especially in the ECOWAS sub-region and expressed the desire that these elections will be held in a free, fair and peaceful atmosphere. They were particularly pleased with the democratic conduct and the peaceful elections in Nigeria and congratulated the people of that country.