President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received the Letters of Credence from six new Ambassadors accredited to Liberia.
They include Ms. Patricia McCullagh, Ambassador of Canada and Abdellahi El Vilaly, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania with residence in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; Ms. Pirjo Soumela-Chowdhury, Ambassador of the Republic of Finland with residence in Abuja, Nigeria.
Others are Babikir Elsiddig Mohammed Elamin, Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan; Emmanuel Mehl, Ambassador of the State of Israel and Mrs. Mari de los Angeles Aguirre, Ambassador of Mexico with residence in Accra, Ghana.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf received the Ambassadors at separate ceremonies at her Foreign Ministry office yesterday, November 26.
She expressed appreciation on behalf of the Liberian Government and people for the “excellent and cordial relations subsisting between these countries and Liberia, and for elevating the respective bilateral relations to another level.
President Sirleaf said the long-standing and cherished relationship Liberia enjoys with the six countries have translated into strategic partnerships and has enabled the countries to pursue genuine cooperation for mutual benefits and the enrichment of the well-being and prosperity of the various countries and peoples.
On the latest Ebola outbreak, President Sirleaf assured the diplomats that it is well contained, as it only affected one family. “We believe we have the capacity to contain this virus and this is going to be another example of us proving to the world that we now can manage it,” she assured.
Presenting her Letters of Credence earlier, Canadian Ambassador, Ms. Patricia McCullagh, expressed delight about the excellent relations between the two countries over time. “We share a number of the same values and interests in global peace and security ensuring poverty reduction globally which you’ve continued to be an advocate, including the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
In terms of economic growth, Ambassador McCullagh said, in spite of quite significant setbacks in the country, there are opportunities that Canada is interested in especially the extractive and other sectors; admitting that the private sector needs to be reinvigorated and will provide jobs for the youthful population.
On deepening the relationship, the new Canadian Ambassador recalled how they have been working for the causes of maternal, new born, child health and education which her government supports in Liberia.
As for the new Ambassador of Mauritania, Mohammed Abdellah El Vilaly, said he was confident that with President Sirleaf’s good work and vision for the country, his tenure here in Liberia will be a success. He looked forward to consolidating the relations between the two countries.
Ms. Pirjo Soumela-Chowdhury, Ambassador of Finland, said though there may not be so many business relations between Liberia and Finland now, there is a lot of potential as many Finnish companies would like to invest in Liberia in the areas of energy, infrastructure, health, modernizing administration, digitalization, among others. She hoped the relations with Liberia will intensify with time and reach another level during her tenure; noting that her embassy in this region is promoting business relations.
She disclosed the appointment of a new Honorary Consul to Liberia, Marlelen Vesikko, who also heads the Finnish Refugee Council in Liberia and the opening of a consulate here in Monrovia.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to Liberia, Babikir Elsiddig Mohammed Elamin, Sudan’s first Ambassador accredited near this capital since the administration of President Sirleaf, said Liberia has always been a source of hope and inspiration, and expressed his admiration at the way the country was able to defeat the Ebola virus disease, in which one of his compatriots working with the UN Mission in Liberia succumbed. He was optimistic that Liberia would overcome this disease and move on with the process of development.
For his part, the new Israeli Ambassador to Liberia, Emmanuel Mehl said he was extremely excited to be presenting his Letters of Credence to one of the two oldest countries on the continent. He said Liberia for him is not just another country but one of the two countries on the African continent, including Ethiopia that symbolizes “liberty”.
He said he will ensure that the relationship with Liberia will graduate to another level. “We will look for the various fields in energy, medicine, agriculture, education, and what else is needed where we can do the best for Liberia,” he assured.
The Mexican Ambassador to Liberia, Mrs. Mari de los Angeles Aguirre, for her part, said though both countries have had diplomatic relations spanning 40 years next year and a great occasion to celebrate, it is also an opportunity to search for new possibilities to strengthen the relations.