Circumstances that led to the Government of the United Kingdom declaring two Liberian Diplomats persona non-grata or undesirable and their subsequent expulsion remains a mystery here, raising so many questions.
The Liberian government thru the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia on Tuesday, 28 November confirmed the expulsion of the two diplomats, saying it takes notes of the decision of Her Majesty’s Government, and that arrangements are being worked out for the return of the envoys along with their respective families to Liberia within the January 8, 2018 deadline.
The Foreign Ministry says though the British Government has not provided any reasons for its action, under Article 9 (1) of the Vienne Convention of 1961 that deals with Diplomatic Relations, the UK is not obliged to state why.
Seemingly, Liberians may never get to know why two officials sent to represent the country at such high level, would be declared undesirable and asked to leave. It sends mixed signals.
With no explanations provided or required, our government has said it is acting accordingly. But ordinary Liberians are left wondering what really happened or what could be the cause. Did our diplomats step their bounds?
When our envoys are tagged “persona non grata” with no explanations provided, it portrays the country’s image negatively, leaving room for suspicions. The truth may be known in diplomatic circles, but as protocol requires, it may not come public.
The Father of Physics, internationally acclaimed Sir Isaac Newton, states in one of his many principles that for ‘every action, there is an equal, but opposite reaction.’ We believe the UK Government did not take this action in the clear blue sky; something may have preceded it.
We can only hope that this response would not adversely affect Liberia-United Kingdom relations, which can be traced to 1848, and 15 years before the United States Government recognized Liberia as an Independent state.
Britain remains a strong partner of Liberia and the strong bonds of friendship that exist between both countries and peoples permeate various aspects of life. British external support to the Sirleaf Administration was very instrumental in enhancing the capacity of the Civil Service Agency under the leadership of former director-general Dr. C. William Allen.
Therefore, it is our prayers that nothing would be done on either side that could strain this relationship with many historically mutual benefits for our two countries and peoples.