President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received the Letters of Credence from the new Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdoms of Netherlands and Denmark accredited near Monrovia, His Excellency Mr. Hans Docter and Her Excellency Ms. Margit Thomsen, respectively. The two Ambassadors are resident in Accra, Ghana.
Amb. Thomsen with Pres. Sirleaf Amb. Docter with Pres. Sirleaf
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader, while receiving the Dutch and Danish Ambassadors at separate ceremonies at her Foreign Ministry office on Monday, November 3, expressed appreciation on behalf of the Liberian Government and people for their distinctive roles in trying to contain the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease and for previous developmental support to the country.
President Sirleaf reflected on the country’s relations with the two European nations which dates as far back as the 1800s, expressing regret that the relations were interrupted due to the Liberia’s civil conflict. She also highlighted the roles played by the both countries in ending Liberia’s civil war and in the reconstruction of the post-conflict nation.
In separate remarks, the Liberia President updated the two new Ambassadors on the Ebola situation in the country and expressed satisfaction over the current level of intervention of the international community including support from the Kingdoms of the Netherlands and Denmark that have enabled the Government and people of Liberia to now have hands and control in containing the further spread of the virus.
“In July and August, the situation was extremely terrible as the disease was very strange to us and where support and intervention was at its lowest. Many of our citizens died, while the government instituted several measures including a State of Emergency to tackle the spread of the virus,” President Sirleaf disclosed; adding, “Today, we can see results and are well on the road to defeating the virus with the help and support of everyone.”
The Liberian leader stressed that the Ebola virus disease has had a grave impact on the country’s development drive as well as the economy and informed the two new diplomats accredited near this capital that a post-Ebola recovery plan is being developed to mitigate the economic challenges that may arise. She pointed out that when such time comes, private sector partnership will be highly encouraged and anticipated to aid the recovery process.
As a way of turning the Ebola devastation into some opportunities, President Sirleaf noted that all will now be done to finally eradicate the virus as well as integrate the overall regular healthcare programs so as to ensure that the healthcare system comes out strong with solid infectious control measures and programs in all health facilities.
The Liberian leader particularly thanked the Danish Government for its support to the country’s Gender and Women’s Empowerment Program through the Ministry of Gender and Development.
She also appealed to the Kingdom of Netherlands to partner with the Government of Liberia to implement a Water Management Program on the Mesurado River for safe livelihood and touristic attraction. The appeal was accepted.
Presenting his Letters of Credence earlier, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands, His Excellency Hans Docker expressed his country’s desire to firmly stand with Liberia during this time of the Ebola outbreak and informed President Sirleaf that a vessel with anti-Ebola supplies is headed to the region in two weeks.
He disclosed that a trade and investment delegation from the Netherlands will visit Liberia shortly and expressed support for the recovery process and to putting the country’s economy back on course.
Ambassador Docker informed President Sirleaf that he has also been appointed as the “Dutch Special Ebola Envoy” to the affected countries and that the Kingdom is currently mobilizing to send healthcare workers, a mobile laboratory as well as build an Ebola treatment unit where it is most needed in the region.
“We will encourage Dutch companies to come to Liberia to help fast-track the post-Ebola development efforts, as well as provide scholarships for Liberians to study in the Kingdom of Netherlands. We will also train Liberian diplomats and ensure that the international response is good,” Ambassador Docker indicated.
The new Dutch Ambassador committed to partner with Government to implement the project that will transform the Mesurado River for beautification and touristic attraction upon the request of President Sirleaf.
In presenting her Letters of Credence later, the new Danish Ambassador, Her Excellency Ms. Margit Thomsen, on behalf of His Majesty, the King of the Kingdom of Denmark, conveyed fraternal greetings and best wishes of the King and the people of Denmark to President Sirleaf, the Government and people of Liberia.
She pointed out that relations between Liberia and Denmark have throughout the past several years been characterized by good and fruitful cooperation. Demark and Liberia, she noted, have cooperated closely especially in connection with improving women’s conditions, such as economic empowerment of women, awareness raising and strengthening the court to address gender-based violence, and supporting women’s food producers.
“Liberia made impressive progress in reinstating peace and restoring the country after the cessation of conflict in 2003 – construction of infrastructure, restoring water and electricity, while building of the educational and health sectors were underway,” Ambassador Margit noted.
However, she pointed out that all of a sudden Liberia’s development path has suffered setback due to the eruption of the Ebola virus but that Denmark was committed to helping the Government and international partners to contain the further spread of the virus.
“Denmark wishes to continue to support Liberia also in the years ahead when Liberia will be back on the good path towards further development,” she reiterated.