Relations between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire have reached new heights with the revival of the Joint Commission and the signing of several cooperation agreements aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation between both countries.
A Foreign Ministry release said, the three-day technical working sessions between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire climaxed Wednesday, August 30, with the signing of eight Cooperation Agreements and a Joint Communiqué by Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Her Excellency Ms. Marjon V. Kamara and Côte d’Ivoire’s Foreign Minister, His Excellency Mr. Marcel Amon Tanoh on behalf of their respective countries. The signing ceremony took place in the Foreign Ministry’s C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium.
Other agreements signed included: Revised Agreement on the Joint Commission; Technical, Vocational and Educational Training; Sanitation and Urban Development; Agriculture; Fishery, Livestock Farming and Aquaculture; Forest and Wildlife; Production, Transportation and Energy Supply; and Submission to the Commission of Limits of the Continental Shelf.
Liberian Institutions involved included the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Lands, Mines and Energy, Agriculture, Public Works, Youth and Sports and Education. Others were the Liberia Maritime Authority and the Liberia Electricity Corporation.
The two foreign ministers acknowledged the privileged nature and exceptional quality of the bonds of friendship and solidarity that unite their countries. They also welcomed the commitment of their Governments to the peace ideals, justice and progress shared by their countries.
They reaffirmed their common desire to further consolidate their various consultations, at the image of the excellent relations of fraternity and friendship shared by their two Heads of State.
Foreign Ministers Kamara and Amon Tanoh also welcomed the establishment of the Joint Council of Traditional Leaders and Elders of the border area of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire whose resolutions from the Zwedru and Guiglo meetings contributed to consolidate social cohesion and peace in this border area. They also recommended the effective implementation of the various resolutions adopted during these conclaves.
When Foreign Minister Amon Tanoh arrived in the country on Tuesday, August 29, he was received in audience by Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, to whom he conveyed a message of friendship and appreciation from His Excellency Mr. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.
While expressing their solidarity with the people of Sierra Leone deeply mourned by mudslides, the two foreign ministers strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Africa and elsewhere in the world, notably in Ouagadougou and Barcelona in the Joint Communiqué.
After they had affixed their signatures to the eight agreements, His Excellency Mr. Amon Tanoh, speaking through an English interpreter, expressed his genuine satisfaction for the holding of the Joint Commission Meeting.
“With this session, we have demonstrated through concrete action, the strong commitment of their Excellencies, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Mr. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic Côte d’Ivoire, to enhance the cooperation between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire,” he said.
Thanking Foreign Minister Kamara for fully participating in the Joint Commission Meeting, he added that Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia share not only their membership in ECOWAS and Mano River Union, but also a common destiny and ideals.
“Moreover, the necessity of jointly addressing challenges that our two States face within their development projects, it behooves upon us to act, more than ever before, in a perfect synergy of actions. That is why, I am particularly pleased with the undertakings we have just made, which offer us happy opportunities to work together in line with the desire to strengthen our bilateral cooperation as expressed by our two Heads of State.
“I also note, with satisfaction, the review of the Agreement establishing our Joint Commission. This testifies to the new momentum of our two Governments to inscribe the Ivorian-Liberian cooperation into new dynamics,” Ivorian Foreign Minister Amon Tanoh added.
He used the occasion to disclose that the zest in the momentum of the three-day meeting will be reinforced with the official upcoming visit of President Sirleaf to Côte d’Ivoire from September 7th to 8th, at the invitation of President Ouattara.
He expressed his confidence that their common determination will contribute, to upgrade more cooperation between the two sisterly countries, at a level that reflects the deepest aspirations of their respective Governments for the shared happiness of their peoples.
Responding, Foreign Minister Kamara said that it is indeed an historic occasion as the Joint Commission Agreement was concluded in 1972, 45 years ago. “It is our common decision to reenergize, reinvigorate the Joint Commission Agreement that was concluded in 1972 and to fine tune it to the new realities of development of our two countries,” she stated.
She further stated that despite signing eight agreements, both countries have already been cooperating in many other areas. She stressed that the agreements that they both signed will formalize and bring all the others into a framework that will guide both nations.
“We know that these are not the only areas of cooperation; we have indeed identified 22, but we have decided to start with these because they are the most important and these are the ones that we are hoping that we will be able to make some impact,” Foreign Minister Kamara stressed.
She challenged both countries that going forward, they should make sure to give life and meaning to the agreements signed. “We are encouraging technical staff of both countries to define the next step and not just put these agreements on the shelf,” she said, adding, “We are counting on everyone to do their best so that over the next period we will set our cooperation on a course that is irreversible.” The Joint Commission is expected to meet every two years and the next meeting will be in 2019 in Côte d’Ivoire.