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France, Liberia in security ties

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-To fight global terrorism

Foreign Minister Kamara and French Ambassador Godeau shake hands following last Thursday’s meeting/ Credit: Public Affairs In the wake of the UN Mission’s drawdown at the end of June 2016, the French Government has offered to strengthen cooperation with Liberia and its security sector amidst the global threat of terrorism.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Ambassador of France to Liberia, His Excellency Joel Godeau, made the offer last Thursday, May 19, during a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara. Amb. Godeau said though there is no specific or immediate threat against Liberia at this time, the country could be a soft target considering its relations with perceived enemies as was the case of some countries in the sub-region, including the attack at Grand-Bassam in Côte d’Ivoire recently.

The French Ambassador to Liberia highlighted his appreciation for the splendid cooperation characterizing relations between the Mano River countries – Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire in recent times, noting that it is good that Mano River Union countries exchange information, including intelligence information, considered crucial in the fight against terrorism, money laundering and other criminal acts.

Ambassador Godeau also used the opportunity to commend the Government of Liberia for providing maximum security to the premises of the French Embassy near Monrovia, expressing the hope that they can remain owing to serious terrorist threats against French targets around the world.

The French Ambassador commended the 53rd National Legislature for passing into law the Liberia Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015, which now regulates the possession and use of small arms and light weapons in the country. The law was passed on May 12, 2016 when the House of Representatives concurred with an earlier action of the Senate.

He informed Foreign Minister Kamara that at the United Nations Security Council, a resolution has now been drafted, with the total support of France to terminate the arms sanctions imposed on Liberia, as well as terminate its committee set up in 2003 to monitor the arms embargo imposed on the country. The resolution is expected to be adopted at the UN Security Council shortly.

He also thanked the Minister for the warm reception and honor accorded his request for the meeting to discuss critical issues concerning Liberia-France relations. In response, Foreign Minister welcomed the French Ambassador to the Foreign Ministry with the hope of continuing to meet at regular intervals to discuss issues affecting both countries.

She used the opportunity to express her solidarity with the French Government and people on recent deaths of 15 French citizens on the EgyptAir airlines travelling from Paris to Cairo last Wednesday, May 18, 2016.
Regarding terrorism and its effect on Liberia, she admitted the country’s vulnerability, especially weaknesses in border monitoring, but indicated that the government was making serious efforts in training and equipping personnel of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization to be present at all entry and exit points across the country.

She expressed her thanks to France for its offer of collaboration with Liberia’s security sector.  “I’m grateful for the offer of assistance where necessary and I am heartened that you are continuing your collaboration with the heads of our security agencies,” she said, noting that Liberia needs the support from all partners, including France.

Foreign Minister Kamara also expressed gratitude to France for its support to the draft resolution to lift the arms embargo on Liberia for good.  Liberia’s top diplomat and the French Ambassador later discussed bilateral issues affecting the two countries.

 

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