-He had an emergency
The Liberian Government says its bilateral relations with Cote d’Ivoire are intact and nowhere near being in danger. Liberia’s Minister of State, Nathaniel F. McGill reacting to a New Dawn headline on Wednesday said the abrupt departure of the Ivorian Defense Minister from the Mano River Union Chief of Defense Staff meeting was due to an emergency.
“No relationship in danger, the guy had an emergency.” Mr. McGill said in reaction to this paper’s Wednesday, May 26, 2021, headline which questions both countries’ relations. Cote d’Ivoire is Liberia’s eastern neighbor. Both countries had in the past been affected by cross-border attacks but had since agreed to form a joint border security patrol.
Speculations have been high, amidst fears that bilateral relations between the Government of Liberia and that of neighboring Cote d’Ivoire could be in danger.
Signs of a developing strain in relations between the two countries appeared to have shown face on Monday, May 24, 2021, when the Ivorian Defense Minister, TiénéBirahimaOuattara, the younger brother of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, refused to sit at the just ended joint Mano River Union Joint Security Chiefs’ meeting and left without attending any of the sessions.
Reasons surrounding his abrupt entry and exit from the high-profiled regional security meeting were not made known to journalists covering the meeting. But Mr. Ouattara who came on a special flight on the night of Sunday, May 23, 2021, had an earlier meeting with President George Weah at the president’s private residence in the Rehab community earlier on Monday morning before briefly appearing at the conference venue and leaving subsequently. The hosts of the MRU Security conference have remained tight-lip on the action of the Ivorian Defense Chief.
However, there are concerns that his action could have been the outcome of the meeting with President Weah following reports of recent discoveries of passports and other documents purportedly belonging to alleged Liberian mercenaries at a scene of an attack on one of the Ivorian military bases. The documents were put on display in the Ivorian capital during a press conference.
But the Liberian Government had since issued a statement expressing deep concerns over the incident. “Passports and other documents purportedly belonging to the assailants which depict Liberian nationality were put on display by Ivorian authorities,” the statement released by the Liberian Information Ministry said.
The statement added, “The Liberian government strongly condemns any act which disrupts the peace of its neighbors and the region as a whole.” In that statement, the Liberian Government made it clear that no inch of its soil will be used as launchpad for insurrection.