President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has met with the new Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
Mr. Ahmed, a Mauritanian, replaces Mr. Anthony Banbury who ended his tour of duty at the weekend.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian President received Mr. Ahmed and delegation at her Foreign Ministry office during a courtesy call on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.
President Sirleaf welcomed the new head of UNMEER to Liberia and described the work of his predecessor as excellent and very supportive of the country’s fight to contain the deadly Ebola virus disease.
“Your predecessor effectively spearheaded the operations of UNMEER with huge progress. Even though the country still has a lot to be done with regards to Ebola, much was achieved with the assistance and cooperation of UNMEER,” President Sirleaf indicated.
She pledged the government’s support to the transitional process in UNMEER and emphasized the need for improved and strengthened regional collaboration and cooperation in the continued fight against the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease.
President Sirleaf named exchange of information, experiences and best practices as important elements required to enhance regional cooperation and collaboration in the Ebola fight.
She acknowledged that some level of regional collaboration is taking place, but still below the level it ought to be and stressed that the regional dimension of the virus makes it difficult for progress to be made in one country without the corresponding progress in the others.
Also speaking, the new head of UNMEER, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, expressed appreciation for the leadership and commitment of the Liberian government which he considers the main factor responsible for the level of progress made in Liberia’s fight against the further spread of the Ebola virus disease.
He pointed out that the mechanism for coordination may not be perfect but has impacted the Ebola fight in Liberia and the region very efficiently.
Mr. Ahmed indicated that UNMEER will also focus on helping government reactivate the educational system and declared the mission’s support to the back to school effort. He, however, advised that appropriate measures and processes be put in place to protect both the students and staff as Ebola is still active in Liberia.
Mr. Ahmed was accompanied by the Secretary General’s Special Representative of the UN Mission in Liberia, Karin Landgren; UN Ebola Envoy, David Nabarro; and Mr. Peter Graff; while Health Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenegalie; Minister of State Without Portfolio, Mr. Sylvester Grigsby; and Dr. Emmanuel Dolo were also in attendance.