ON TUESDAY, MILITARY officials of Liberia and the Ivory Coast began a two-day quadripartite meeting at the Ministry of National Defense with Liberia’s Defense Minister, J. Brownie Samukai reiterating that Liberia is committed to the Mano River Union (MRU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols which stressed the need to maintain peace and strengthen relations within the sub regional countries. Minister Samukai acknowledged the presence of the United Nations Mission in Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire which he believed will further strengthen the two countries’ militaries mission. He also lauded all of the two governments’ partners for facilitating the process that led to the success of previous meetings between the two countries.
THE DEFENSE MINISTER reiterated that Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire do share a common border and also have lots of things in common in the countries and amongst their peoples. Minister Samukai assured the high-level delegation that they would do all within their mandate to work in ensuring the protection of the two countries and peoples. He further buttressed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s statement that ‘not one inch of Liberia’s territory would be used to destabilize its neighboring countries, since the benefit of peace in one country is the benefit of peace in the next country.
THE DEFENSE MINISTER lauded the leaderships of the two countries’ militaries for their commitment and supports that have created a peaceful atmosphere between the two countries.
THE MILITARY MEETING which is rotational is intended to bring together Ministers of Defense, Justice, and Foreign Affairs from the two countries to discuss and adopt measures on ways they could protect their borders and sustain peace in the two countries. The series of meetings are also intended to design measures that would further prevent chaos in two countries.
AT YESTERDAY’S SESSION, Liberia Foreign Minister, Augustine Ngafuan gave a reflection on the signing of the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in Accra, Ghana, which led to the establishment of the new Armed Forces of Liberia and the elections of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Minister Ngafuan also recounted the numerous peace conferences that took place in Cote D’Ivoire based on the agreement of the Government and its people who were concerned about Liberia during the civil crisis. He commended the Ivorian Government for opening its doors to shelter those Liberians who sought refuge in their country. Minister Ngafuan said it was an unfortunate situation that the Liberian crisis spilled over to the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone and at the same time posing a threat to the Republic of Guinea.
HE COMMENDED THE Ivorian government for partnering with the Liberian government to protect their borders and provide maximum security for their people.
COTE D’IVOIRE AMBASSADOR to Liberia, Kapieletien Soro commended the two militaries for holding on to their commitment in sustaining the peace in the two countries and at the same time protecting their respective borders. Ambassador Soro expressed hope that the resolution that would be adopted at the end of today’s session would better improve the relations between the two countries.
IT IS EXPECTED that the two countries will work together and take into consideration the concept of operation that was adopted at the previous meeting. They will also focus on the safety of the two countries’ borders. The delegates are expected to adopt a resolution in Monrovia today to further sustain peace and strengthen ties between the two countries.
FOR GOOD NEIGHBORLINESS and realizing from where the two countries; Liberia and Ivory Coast come; the holding of such rotational security meetings is highly welcome. This is welcome as it would keep both countries on their feet and ensure that they become their neighbors and brother keepers. With both having a big experience of civil wars and possibility that crisis could erupt at the two countries’ border, such a meeting can go a long way in sustaining the fragile peace being enjoyed in both countries.
THE ONLY ADVICE to keep the peace alive is the necessity of holding such meeting and it is our hope that these meetings are being held under cordial atmosphere and with a spirit of sincerity. With a sincere mind and heart, such a meeting can ensure that war and cross-border attacks will continue to be an issue of the past and the both countries will indeed become their brother’s keeper and remain committed to resolutions derived from such meetings.