President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has commended the Government and people of Belgium for their show of humanitarian support and solidarity during Liberia’s most challenging period as the country grappled with the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
An Executive Mansion release said President Sirleaf made the remarks when the new Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Belgium, His Excellency Mr. Hugues Chantry presented his Letters of Credence at her temporary Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia.
President Sirleaf said the intervention of the Kingdom of Belgium during the Ebola outbreak symbolized a sense of true friendship and good neighborliness especially towards a people who had nowhere to turn. “Belgium,” she said, “was at the forefront of mobilizing humanitarian relief and would be remembered for maintaining regular flights into Monrovia after several airlines had cancelled flights to Liberia.” As a mark of our appreciation, President Sirleaf noted, the Government of Liberia conferred a national honor of distinction in recognition of Brussels Airline invaluable service to the people of Liberia. The airline was admitted into the Order of the Star of Africa, with the Grade of Commander.
She the lauded the longstanding relations between Liberia and the Kingdom of Belgium and highlighted Liberia’s difficult past, the transition to democratic governance, the process of rebuilding and uniting a broken nation as well as progress made despite the challenges.
In response, His Excellency, Mr. Hugues Chantry extolled the Liberian leader for the wisdom, leadership and courage she has demonstrated in leading the reform process of a nation from fragility to stability, national unity and development.
Ambassador Hugues underscored the historical ties between the two countries and peoples over the years founded on mutual respect and bilateral cooperation. He said he will endeavor during his tenure to ensure further strengthening bilateral cooperation between Liberia and the Kingdom of Belgium.
The new Belgium Ambassador to Liberia indicated that the Kingdom of Belgium will continue to support Liberia in its development aspirations. He also acknowledged President Sirleaf’s recent role in the historic Joint Council of Chiefs and Elders Meeting (JCCEM) held in Guiglo County, Côte d’Ivoire vis-a-viz the dividends of peace, stability and closer cooperation devoid of rancor.
Meanwhile, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed gratitude to the Belgium Government for its role, support and assistance during Liberia’s World Trade Organization (WTO) Accession march. She said further cooperation and partnership would become necessary in the wake of Liberia’s Post-Accession Plan. She challenged the Belgium trade delegation visiting Liberia to explore every opportunity that seeks to foster trade and economic cooperation.
The Liberian leader stressed the need to speed up progress on roads, telecommunication and power supply to facilitate inter-regional trade in West Africa. For his part, the Kingdom of Belgium’s Secretary for Foreign Trade, His Excellency Pieter De Crem said the Belgium trade delegation is in-country on a pre-assessment mission with a view to exploring likely investment opportunities in Liberia. Mr. De Crean emphasized strong trade relationship, which according to him, should be deepened to attain a win-win outcome. Trade Secretary De Crem observed that the trade delegation’s visit represents a ‘door opener’ and added that Belgium businesses are also interested in value addition.