Liberia, Ivory Coast Hold Security Meeting

By Melissa Chea-Annan

Military officials in Liberia and the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire are expected to adopt a resolution in Monrovia today on means peace can be sustained and ties can be strengthened between the two countries.   At the opening session of a two-day quadripartite meeting at the Ministry of National Defense yesterday, Defense Minister, J. Brownie Samukai reiterated that Liberia is committed to the Mano River Union (MRU) Protocol as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol which stressed the need to maintain peace and strengthen relations with the sub regional countries.

Minister Samukai acknowledged the presence of the United Nations Mission in Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire which he believes will further strengthen the two countries’ military missions. He also commended 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 and amongst their peoples. He assured the high-level delegation that they will do all within their mandate work in ensuring the protection of the countries and peoples.

Minister Samukai buttressed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s statement that not one inch of Liberia’s territory would be used to destabilize its neighboring countries because 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 the 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, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 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 border and ensure security for their peoples.

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 the 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 be working 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.