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EU proposes political dialogue with Liberia

EU proposesForeign Minister Marjon V. Kamara along with EU Ambassadors, including Ms. Tiina Intelmann, second from left; March 18, 2016 The European Union (EU) Delegation to Liberia is proposing a political dialogue with Liberia in light of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) planned drawdown and the upcoming presidential and legislative elections next year.

A Foreign Ministry release said, the suggestion was made to Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara when the EU Delegation headed by H.E. Ms. Tiina Intelmann and other EU Ambassadors, sought the backing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when they paid her a courtesy call on Friday, March 18, 2016.

On the planned UNMIL drawdown, Ms. Intelmann informed Foreign Minister Kamara that the Delegation is working with all the major stakeholders, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and through them the local government in all 15 counties of Liberia.

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On the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, the head of the EU Delegation said they are interested in political dialogues among and between political parties on one hand and political parties and the government on the other.

It is about the upcoming elections that the EU Delegation has proposed the political dialogue, which they intend the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lead the Government’s side. Ms. Intelmann urged Minister Kamara to consider inviting members of the National Legislature to form part of the discussions during the proposed one-day dialogue. The EU decided to include members of the National Legislature so that the lawmakers know what the EU is thinking as the nation goes to elections in 2017.

The EU Delegation’s head also informed Minister Kamara that the EU has committed more than US$300 million for Liberia and the funds will be managed jointly by the Delegation and the Liberian Government.
She disclosed that the EU and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning recently signed a US$20 million agreement, earmarked for the security sector in the wake of the UNMIL drawdown.

Ms. Intelmann further stated that the EU has given the National Elections Commission (NEC) US$10 million which is being managed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The head of the EU Delegation in Liberia also informed the Foreign Minister that the EU and Liberia have entered into a contractual agreement in order for the latter to manage the country’s forest sector and develop its fishery sector.

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Ms. Intelmann expressed appreciation that Minister Kamara would serve as an excellent conduit for them to reach other sectors of the Liberian Government. Responding, Foreign Minister Kamara thanked the EU Delegation including other EU Ambassadors for the persistent support provided Liberia. “I am privileged that I have taken over at the time when our relationship with the EU is very strong,” she said, adding, “From our side, I’m sure we are being sensitive to your interests generally and as individual nations.”

Ms. Kamara said she was glad that Liberia has good friends within the EU as the nation approaches a critical juncture; specifically looking at UNMIL which has managed the nation’s security for more than a decade and the upcoming elections, which will be a smooth transition from one elected government to another.

On UNMIL’s drawdown, Minister Kamara hoped that talks can be established among all the major security sector stakeholders, including international partners, so as to have a common position while awaiting the UN Security Council Mission which is expected to be sent by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to undertake a fact-finding mission in September 2016.

Foreign Minister Kamara’s suggestion was reinforced by the H.E. Mr. David Belgrove, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.-Press release

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