President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received the Letters of Credence from the Russian Federation Ambassador, Dmitry Suslov, last week at her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia.
Ambassador Suslov, on presenting his Letters, noted that his term of service in Liberia begins at a difficult time, referring to the now subsiding Ebola virus disease in the country. He said he was sent on his diplomatic mission to the West Africa region during the height of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak specifically in August 2014.
He acknowledged the hard work of the government and people of Liberia in overcoming the virus, noting that today at the expense of hard work, the Liberian government with support of the international community, normal life is returning to the country.
“I am proud to mention that the current contribution of Russia to the common international efforts in the battle against Ebola in West Africa is more than US$60 million,” he noted.
The Russian diplomat disclosed that his major task as Ambassador to Liberia is to work hard so that both countries’ political, economic and human interaction can acquire additional dynamics. “Besides this, there are many other areas in which we also can achieve success – scientific, technical, education and many others,” he noted.
He assured President Sirleaf that the Russian Federation will continue to help Liberia and the two worst affected countries, Guinea and Sierra Leone, to overcome Ebola and its consequences.
He expressed appreciation for the high level of mutual understanding between the two countries’ political contacts on the key international issues, confirmed at the talks of the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries in Moscow in September 2013.
Ambassador Suslov promised that his country will continue to contribute to the UN peacekeeping efforts in Liberia and that his country is also ready to sign a memorandum on political consultations between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
He also noted that it is particularly important that the two countries move in their trade, economic and investment cooperation which is vital for both Liberia in post-Ebola period and Russia, which now is especially interested in new reliable partners all over the world.
His comment was in reference to a Russian company, Severstal, which has a major investment in the mining sector of the country. The company operates the Putu Range in Grand Gedeh County.
President Sirleaf assured Ambassador Suslov of her Government’s support in the discharge of his duty. She referred to the longevity of the Russian-Liberian relations though with a series of intermittent breaks.
She expressed satisfaction that the two countries are committed to strengthening their relations evidenced by the exchange of a series of important visits followed by the proposals to consummate several significant agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.
President Sirleaf thanked the Russian Government for the operation of Severstal that is contributing to job creation in Liberia and requested him to convey her gratitude for Russian investment interest in Liberia and urged that these investments also be directed to the manufacturing industry as much as they would be desired in education, health, and infrastructure.
Bilateral relationship between the two countries has existed since 1956 during the administration of President William V. S. Tubman with Russia then known as the Soviet Union.