Liberia, Sweden Strengthen Diplomatic Bond

Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Swedish Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, H.E.  Madam Sofia Strand, have reiterated their governments’ commitment and determination to expand cooperation and solidify the existing historic relationship between both countries for the mutual benefits of the two Governments and Peoples.

 The two officials spoke recently at a colorful ceremony commemorating the Swedish National Day held at the Royale Grand Hotel in Sinkor. Foreign Minister Ngafuan, during the event, recounted Sweden’s numerous aids to pre and post-war Liberia.

While congratulating the Kingdom of Sweden following the observance of its National Day, Foreign Minister Ngafuan, on behalf of all the people of Liberia, expressed deepest appreciation for the strong support Sweden gave during the Liberian civil conflict and for the critical and precious assistance the Swedish Government continues to render Liberia: “Today, Sweden remains one of the troops contributing countries to UNMIL which has helped with more than a decade of uninterrupted peace in Liberia.”

 The Minister particularly referenced LAMCO, the American and Swedish joint venture mining company that operated in pre-war Liberia, Swedish Relief‘s contributions during the civil war and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)’s ongoing aid in post-war Liberia.

He said with Sweden investment in the form of LAMCO in northern Liberia which witnessed a convergence of cultures, the impact continues to resonate today more than half a century later. “Liberians from far and near flocked to Yekepa to seek medical treatment at the LAMCO hospital while others took vacation there to enjoy the cool and exhilarating weather of Mount Nimba. Hundreds of Liberians received skill training in various disciplines from the LAMCO Wallenberg Vocational Training Center and thousands of students attended the company’s schools that were very outstanding.”

 Touching on the important contributions Swedish-Liberian children and families are making to society in both Sweden and Liberia, he asserted, “Quite a few Liberians fled to Sweden for refuge during our civil crisis and many young Liberians have gone there with dreams of becoming international football stars”.

 The Minister indicated the Swedish Relief Hospital’s vital healthcare it provided for hundreds of Liberia during the period of emergency at the height of Liberia’s civil crisis.

 The Liberian Foreign Minister said the Swedish Government of Sweden remains engaged with Liberia SIDA in the country’s civil service reform program, gender and development activities and many social programs aimed at improving the lives of the Liberian people.

 He said these important milestones attest to the long and successful history of Sweden as a nation, adding Liberia and Sweden continue to enjoy exceptional, long-standing and cordial relationship.

At the same time minister Ngafuan asserted that Sweden continues to work closely with Liberia in its drive for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

 For her part, Ambassador Strand said Sweden is proud to be a close partner to Liberia in its dedicated struggle to make steadfast stride away from fragility and war induced devastation. “We work together with the Government of Liberia and try to assist Liberians’ efforts in areas that we consider fundamentally important to the long-term sustainable development of any country which has experienced the destructive elements of war, peace and stability are very significant in national growth”, the Ambassador stressed.

 Ambassador Strand also commended the UP led administration for its aspiration for a better Liberia as envisaged in the country’s Agenda For Transformation and its Vision 2030 program. 

According to the Swedish Diplomat, her Government has continuously recognized that peace and freedom from violence plays fundamental role in development.

 The Swedish Envoy further paid special tribute to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She stressed that the President has played a leading international role in promoting the need for peace as a prerequisite for any form of development, admitting that the Liberian Leader’s success in this endeavor is well illustrated by the Common Africa Position regarding the post-2015 Agenda in which peace, security and freedom from violence plays a significant role in the country’s growth.

 She noted that as her country celebrated two centuries of uninterrupted peace which ended its war against Norway, she acknowledged that  the situation has permitted Sweden to develop a solid democracy based on the trade of law and respect for human right and dignity.

 “Uninterrupted peace allows for uninterrupted development and Sweden has therefore been able to build a society where accountability equal access to fundamental public service and education couple with a strength belief in free trade and openness to the world has led to industry innovations employment and inclusive economic growth”, she stated.

The ceremony was attended by high profile dignitaries including top officials of the Liberia Government as well as members of the diplomatic corps. 

 

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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