Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf have emphasized the need for the long-standing relationship between Israel and Liberia to be translated in to concrete programs and activities which will benefit the two countries.
The two leaders called for strengthened engagement in priority areas in security cooperation, agricultural development through innovative techniques and energy. In furtherance of this, a delegation of Israeli experts will visit Liberia shortly to carry out an assessment to determine the most efficient mode of implementing tangible projects, an Executive Mansion statement issued in Monrovia last weekend said.
Speaking during a meeting Thursday, President Sirleaf used the occasion to extend her condolences to those affected by Wednesday’s terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and to the Israeli nation as a whole. She described terrorism as a transnational menace which eradication requires more cooperation amongst nations. The President recalled recent attacks in neighboring Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Cote D’Ivoire, along with the wave of terror being carried by Boko Haram in Nigeria, as grave threats to West Africa which must be tackled collectively. She said ECOWAS States were now doing more in the areas of trategic coordination amongst its security forces as a means of having a more effective campaign against terrorism in the region. The statement quoted her as pointing out that terrorism has the potential of rolling back the economic and developmental gains made over the years if allowed to fester.
Prime Minister Netanyahu called for more intelligence sharing and the enhancement of capabilities to defeat terrorism, which he says seeks to take the world back to the chaos and carnage of early medieval days.
He said Israel was ready to provide such capabilities and work with African nations at bilateral and multilateral levels. He congratulated President Sirleaf for her election as Chairperson of ECOWAS and admonished her to use her position to provide the leadership required for closer ties between Israel and Africa adding, “such cooperation will be mutually beneficial to all parties”. He promised to use his upcoming visit to East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda) to reiterate his call for greater cooperation among Israel and African countries. “After East Africa, my next visit will be to West Africa Madam resident; I look forward to you hosting me soon” the Prime Minister said. Responding to an earlier call by President Sirleaf for more efforts on the part of the parties involved to bring an end to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he was ready to meet with Palestinian Authority anywhere for direct talks without any preconditions. The President called on all sides to the conflict to give peace a chance adding that this will have a positive effect on global peace and security.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf also paid a visit to former Israeli President Shimon Peres at his Center for Peace organization headquarters in the coastal city of Jaffa. There, the two Nobel Laureates exchanged views on a wide variety of perspectives on human development, poverty eradication, education, entrepreneurship and humanitarianism. Presidents Sirleaf and Peres agreed to each designate a special envoy to work our modalities for the Center for Peace to assist Liberia in those areas.
The President and her delegation returned home on Friday, June 10, 2016.