The Government of Liberia and the European Union have held their 3rd Political Dialogue in Monrovia with specific credence given to the ongoing drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the government’s plans for the transition and for the post-Ebola recovery exercise.
Also highlighted was the Universal Periodic Human Rights Review. Updates were also provided on the Ebola recovery and stabilization plans. Discussions were also held on the long-term issue of the Schengen visas issuance in Liberia and the Special Senatorial elections held last year.
The dialogue, which was held under the theme, “Governance, Security and Justice" took place yesterday at the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Liberia delegation was led by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, while the EU team was led by its Ambassador Tiina Intelmann. Present also were several Ambassadors of EU member states accredited to Liberia.
Several high profile representatives from several ministries and agencies of the Liberian government including the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning, Justice, and others were there.
Speaking at the opening of the dialogue, Minister Ngafuan said since the launch of the dialogue three years ago, it has been a major milestone in the EU-Liberia relations, “Since then we have successfully staged two productive dialogues; on November 22, 2012 and February 17, 2014.”
He disclosed that preceding the dialogue were several key events, such as the signing of the Forest Governance and Trade Agreement, the EU-Africa summit and the High Level International conference on Ebola hosted by the EU.
He made mention of the 279 million Euros development agreement signed between the EU and Liberia at the Ebola conference at the High Level Ebola conference under the EU National Indicator Program (NIP) for the 11th EU Development Fund in Liberia.
“We note with appreciation that this funding will address key areas that are vital to our development, spanning six years 2014-2020,” Minister Ngafuan said.
He noted that the EU has always been a friend to Liberia, investing greatly in infrastructure, security, human right, agriculture, energy and education.
He indicated that the EU has contributed more than 1.2 billion Euros to the overall fight against Ebola to which Liberia has significantly benefitted.
“And as a nation, we will remain appreciative to EU member states within the context of the Paris Club, who were very gracious in cancelling a significant portion of our debts. Furthermore, we acknowledge with esteem that the EU prides itself as the highest contributor to Liberia’s budget; a position it has maintained for many years,” Minister Ngafuan said.
Ambassador Intelmann spoke of the works that the EU has been involved in with the Liberian government, especially during the Ebola crisis where her organization helped greatly in ensuring that the virus is brought under control.
She called for more efforts to strengthen the partnership and make it stronger. She spoke of her unwavering support through the EU to make sure that the EU meets with commitments with the government.
Meanwhile, the EU-Liberia Political Dialogue is in line with Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, which states that the EU and member states of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries (which include Liberia) shall regularly engage in a comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides.