Monrovia – Twenty-nine representatives of diplomatic missions accredited to Liberia Tuesday, February 13, met with His Excellency Mr. Gbehzohngar Milton Findley, Minister of Foreign of Liberia, in an acquaintance gathering in the C. Cecil Dennis Hall at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Formally opening the meeting with the diplomats, Foreign Minister Findley thanked all of them for helping Liberians and Liberia hold a very peaceful election, which ushered in the new Liberian administration being led by His Excellency Mr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia.
Foreign Minister Findley, who is also the Dean of the Cabinet, thanked the representatives of foreign missions accredited near Monrovia for the Letters of Congratulations from their various governments to President Weah and from their various foreign ministers to him.
He told the diplomats that he requested to meet with all of them so that he can get to acquaint himself with the various heads of mission accredited near this capital and for them to also know him, even though he had earlier met with some of them individually.
“In addition to the acquaintance,” the Foreign Minister added, “the intention is also basically for you to have access to all the officials of the Ministry.”
He rolled out the focus of the Foreign Ministry under his watch which he said it is going to be, in line with the Liberian government’s “pro-poor policy,” the matter of Economic Diplomacy.
“Basically what that means is to say to all of you that we are going to be looking for investors and investments so that Liberians can directly benefit so that some of our problems can be solved by Liberians. We look forward to working with all of you in that direction,” the Dean of the Cabinet stated.
He used the occasion to apologize for all and any protocol lapses on the part of the government and assured the diplomats, including Consul Generals, that government will take appropriate measures to ratify those lapses in the protocol section.
The Foreign Minister further assured the diplomats that he will work along with other agencies of government, especially the security sector, to provide security for diplomatic missions near Monrovia.
Making remarks, the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea, Mr. Abdoulaye Doré, told the Minister that it was an opportunity for all the diplomats to meet and acquaint themselves with him.
Ambassador Doré congratulated the Minister for his preferment and also on behalf of him and his colleagues, asked the Foreign Minister to convey their congratulations to President Weah.
The Doyen used the occasion to beseech the Foreign Minister to make such meeting with diplomats accredited near Monrovia a regular one. On behalf of him and his colleagues, Ambassador Doré also requested few things from the Foreign Ministry.
“We are hoping that you kindly assign at least two protocol persons to us."
"There were times when we were invited by other agencies, no one was there that knew us, so we didn’t get the deserved respect. But with the protocol persons assigned, we know we can be duly served. ”
“We will also appreciate that those invitations from other agencies coming to us, pass through the Foreign Ministry,” he stated.
Other diplomats were also allowed to share their thoughts with the Foreign Minister.
For his part, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, informed the Minister that as UNMIL mandates come to an end on March 31, 2018, all other UN agencies are going to be housed in the Pan African Plaza, where it will be a one-stop center.
He also informed the Minister that few UN Agencies have already moved into the plaza and the rest are on the stand by to move when UNMIL finally pulls out.
Also speaking, the ECOWAS Representative at the meeting informed the Minister that as of midnight April 1st, the UN Radio will begin broadcasting ECOWAS activities adding that they intend to begin broadcasting activities on Liberia.
For her part, the representative of Sierra Leonean Embassy stressed the need for more cooperation when it comes to trade between both nations.
Responding, Foreign Minister Findley, promised to reach out to every embassy and consulate in the coming months. The Foreign Minister emphasized that under his administration, he will push more toward economy diplomacy. He also told them that he intends to appoint an Economy Counselor at all of Liberia’s embassies around the world.
He further told the diplomats that he's waiting for all his other colleagues to be confirmed by the Liberian Senate so that the Foreign Ministry can begin full scales operations, including addressing most of the concerns they raised.