President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says Liberia remains committed to shared values, amongst which are the promotion of international peace and security, the rule of law and good governance and the building of a vibrant and transparent economy which will discourage all forms of corruption in the global community. “We believe that these principles would create a healthy environment in protecting the rights and freedom of mankind,” she said.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the assertion when she received the new French Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Joël Godeau, who presented his Letters of Credence to the President at a ceremony at her Foreign Ministry Office on Tuesday, November 12.
President Sirleaf recalled the friendship between Liberia and France, which spans more than 150 years, beginning as far back as 1852 when France recognized Liberia’s independence and sovereignty. She noted with satisfaction that, under the current leadership of France, relations between the two countries continue to develop from strength to strength. “We are also pleased that consultations at the summit level between the two countries have increased, and we wish to welcome efforts to intensify such consultations,” President Sirleaf told the new French Ambassador to Liberia.
President Sirleaf referred to the confidence shared by the two countries in a multilateral approach to international relations and in the role played by the United Nations, particularly support of domestic security, and Liberia’s recovery – areas set out as priorities for both countries. She acknowledged that France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has been very supportive to Liberia especially on matters that would enhance the country’s development agenda.
The Liberian leader, also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), further expressed pleasure at the invitation extended the AFL on France’s National Day, which saw a Liberian contingent for the first time march alongside French forces on the Champs-Ēlysées in celebration of Bastille Day this year. Currently, Liberian troops are part of a multinational force are working to keep the peace in Mali. “We commend the forthright leadership of President Hollande and the people of the French Republic for the timely intervention to prevent that country from being overrun and in defense of freedom and the rights of man and citizens throughout the world,” President Sirleaf stated.
She also noted, with gratitude, France’s budgetary support to Liberia, as well as the cancellation of the country’s debt through the Paris Club, which is a significant contribution to the country’s reconstruction and development agenda. President Sirleaf also praised France for its valuable assistance in the areas of health, agriculture, reconstruction, capacity building, and education.
As a further boost to the bilateral relations, the Liberian leader noted that the two governments recently concluded several agreements, including one in the health sector totaling US$5.5 million, together with the social fund for development aimed at supporting micro-projects in Liberia.
“We also welcome with much gratitude that your government has also indicated plans to encourage the French business community to foster its investments for the social fund and economic development of Liberia, as well as continue to focus on the European programs implemented in Liberia, in close cooperation with my Government,” the Liberian leader pointed out. President Sirleaf assured Ambassador Godeau of her Government’s fullest cooperation for the success of his mission and for the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries.
For his part, the new French Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Joël Godeau, thanked President Sirleaf for the warm and friendly words and informed her that he had been instructed by French President, His Excellency François Gérard Hollande, to further deepen and strengthen the bilateral relations. “We share the same principles of the United Nations and we will likewise assist Liberia to recover and ensure the domestic security of the country,” he said.
He noted that as a major member of the European Union and a major contributor to the European Development Fund, his government will focus on European programs and will follow with great attention what is done in this framework with the agreement of the Government.
At the bilateral level, Ambassador Godeau said France will continue to implement various programs in the areas of health, agriculture, reconstruction, capacity building, and education. “My Government will also pay special attention to the development of investments from French companies in Liberia for the benefit of both the companies and Liberia that will lead to the development of the economy itself,” he assured.