Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has praised outgoing Egyptian Ambassador to Liberia for his pivotal role played in cementing the cordial ties between Liberia and the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Minister Ngafuan stated that Ambassador Sameh Lotfi has distinguished himself as a dynamic diplomat, who never ceases to identify new opportunities for strengthening the bilateral relations between Liberia and Egypt.
A Foreign Ministry release quoted Minister Ngafuan as saying that the Egyptian envoy executed his duties with commitment, excellence and diligence, adding, “We are grateful for the true spirit of representation, which he has demonstrated on behalf of his great nation and people.”
Minister Ngafuan spoke at the occasion marking the official celebration of the 63rd Anniversary of the July 23rd Revolution of the Arab Republic of Egypt and at a farewell dinner in honor of Ambassador Lofti, whose tour of duty has ended.
He said Ambassador Lotfi’s tenure ends at a time when Liberia is just beginning to recover from the impact of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD), which claimed the lives of many Liberians and caused social and economic disruption.
“We would have loved him to stay a little longer to help us with this recovery from a virus, which he and his country helped us defeat. But the reality of his profession as I have seen is that diplomats are always on the move at the call of duty.”
He further said that at the height of the onslaught of the Ebola virus disease in Liberia, the outgoing Ambassador worked tooth and nail to mobilize assistance from the Egyptian Government, in solidarity with the people of Liberia to fight the disease.
“Mr. Ambassador, during your tenure, Egypt provided assistance in the form of medical supplies and equipment and doctors at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) referral hospital to assist the Government of Liberia in its combat against Ebola and other challenges of the health sector,” the Minister indicated with deep appreciation.
Minister Ngafuan further observed that the relations between Egypt and Liberia have been cordial and mutually respectful and beneficial with Egypt providing technical assistance to Liberia including short-term training program and long-term bilateral scholarship based on Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Egypt Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa and the Government of Liberia which continues to greatly impact the human resource development of the country.
“We are happy that you turned a milestone in the history of your great country and your place in history is well deserved. I want to take this time to congratulate you on this joyous and auspicious occasion. I am particularly impressed by the remarkable progress that your country has made since the transition from the events at the Tahrir Square to democratic elections, which finally saw the ascendancy of President Al-Sisi to power.”
Minister Ngafuan stated that the July 23rd Revolution played a significant role in the political and economic development of Egypt.
He also noted that the decision to institute a republican government launched Egypt into a new era of Nationalism, industrialization, unprecedented infrastructure development and Agrarian reform at which time Egypt has begun to show early signs of the pivotal role it would play in the non-aligned movement of which Liberia is also a founding member.
For his part, Ambassador Lotfi paid a special tribute to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and officials of her government for the cooperation and support accorded him during his three years of diplomatic assignment in Liberia. He stated that those three years have produced a stable development and cordial bilateral relations between Liberia and Egypt.
While acknowledging the solidity of the relations and the existing cooperation between Liberia and Egypt, the Egyptian envoy stated that during his tenure, Liberia- Egypt relations was marked by mutual bilateral cooperation with rewarding benefits.
He said his tour of duty in Liberia witnessed the visit of high level Egyptian officials including the General Director of the Egyptian Social Fund for Development and the Special Envoy of President, Al Sisi, to Liberia and reciprocal visits of Liberian official to Egypt for training and working of joint committee to be discussed in the near future.
While reflecting on the deadly EVD outbreak, which ravaged Liberia, the Egyptian diplomat stated that his country’s refusal to shut its doors was a stance of solidarity with their African counterparts so as to share the country’s struggle to defeat the Ebola epidemic.
Ambassador Lotfi also said the celebration of the 63rd Anniversary of the July 1952 Revolution marked a significant milestone in his country’s history, as the occasion corresponds with the inauguration of new projects such as the Suez Canal, which is now ready for navigation and will formally be opened on August 6.
He further asserted that the newly constructed two way route promises to nearly triple revenue from the Suez Canal to over US$3 billion per year by 2023. The Egyptian envoy said the new canal will minimize the waiting time for vessels to three hours at most, instead of 8-11 hours and will support the Suez Canal Area Development Project that will turn Egypt into an international logistics center.