Liberia, Ivory Coast upbeat about sub-regional security
Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro has ended a weekend visit to Liberia, with both countries saying the talks between him and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf would promote security in the Mano River Union and strengthen relations between the two neighbours.
The MRU is a four-nation bloc grouping Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
A statement from the Liberian Presidency received by WADR on Sunday said Soro thanked President Johnson-Sirleaf for the invitation to visit Liberia, describing the talks as "very fruitful".
The statement said the talks focused on issues of bilateral concern, including security, trade, the refugee situation along the Ivorian-Liberian border, and how to improve and accelerate regional cooperation between the two countries in the framework of the Mano River Union.
There are currently some 100,000 Ivorian refugees who fled their country into Liberian border towns due to post election fighting between forces of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and rebels backing now incumbent President Alassane Ouattara.
The Ivorian delegation also includeed the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daniel Kablan Duncan; and the Chief Prosecutor, Kouadio Simplice Koffi, who will represent Côte d’Ivoire during the discussions. Representing Liberia will be: Defense Minister Brownie Samukai; Acting and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Levi Demmah; Justice Minister Christina Tah; Internal Affairs Minister Harrison Karnwea; and Planning and Economic Affairs Minister Amara Konneh.
“This visit by the Ivorian Prime Minister and delegation is the first such high-level visit since the inauguration of President Alassane Ouattara more than a month ago. President Johnson Sirleaf was among several leaders who attended the inauguration in Yamoussoukro,” the Liberian government statement added.
Meanwhile, Liberia’s President Johnson-Sirleaf at the weekend received an Award from the Miss University Africa Organization, naming her “African Female Role Model for 2011”.
A government statement said the Liberian leader, who competed against three other prominent African women, was selected for speaking against dictatorial rule in Liberia before winning the 2005 election and for being Africa’s first elected female President.