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Russia, Columbia commit to Liberia

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Ambassadors of four governments have separately presented letters of credence to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Monrovia, including the Ambassadors of Russia and Columbia, who separately made commitments in social development, agriculture and education, among others.

Last week, President Sirleaf at separate occasions received letters of credence from Swiss Ambassador Mr. Thomas Listcher; Turkish Ambassador Madam Nesrin Bayazit; Russian Ambassador Mr. Dmitry Susvlor and Columbia Ambassador Madam Claudia Turbay Quintero.

The Russian envoy to Liberia said what is important right now is the relationship between both governments and peoples, and promised to do his best to keep the bilateral ties alive.

Having stressed Russia’s current economic situation, Mr. Susvlor said his government realizes that Liberia needs assistance, though he made much emphasis on social issues and development of the Port of Greenville, Sinoe County.

Liberia’s relation with Russia has been on and off in the past until its reactivation in [2010]; yet, Mr. Susvlor will not reside here as Ambassador to Liberia but he will instead reside in Ghana because in his own words, its “easy to close an Embassy, but it’s difficult to reopen,” indicating that Russia’s Embassy is not currently opened in Monrovia.

He recalled his government’s general support to West Africa’s three worst-Ebola affected states in the tune of some US$60m.

For her part, Columbia Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Quintero said though her government may not be donor of great amounts of money today, Columbia is however committing its preparedness to partner with Liberia in providing technical support, embrace teachers exchange program with Liberia and support in the area of agriculture because both countries have similar weather and soil.

The Columbian Ambassador is proposing to President Sirleaf to have her Foreign Minister visit Columbia to pick up some opportunities, while emphasizing her country’s interest in working with the government here to promote and make alliance with Liberia and other African Countries, and strengthen trade and economic relationship.

President Sirleaf appreciated the cooperation of the four Ambassadors and their governments during separate interactions with them at her Foreign Ministry Office, informing them that though Ebola dragged Liberia to a zero percent growth when it hit last year, the country was now confident that it can contain the virus, especially the latest case that emerged while observing a 42-day count-down to be declared Ebola freed.

She said Liberia has a long term vision dubbed Vision 2013, and her government was implementing its short term strategy under the Agenda for Transformation or AFT when Ebola disrupted everything here.

The Liberian recalled that for many years, Russian companies have been on exploratory works here and Russia has just completed its MDA, and urged that they find means for economic cooperation to follow as Russia is one of the most developed countries of the world, adding, “We look forward to you for your expertise” on Liberia and African matters.

Also speaking with Columbia Ambassador Madam Quintero, President Sirleaf informed her that Liberia is a mining country just as Columbia, and Liberia is endowed in natural resources, including gold, diamond, and production in palm oil, coffee as well as cocoa, among others. But as a country recovering from war, President Sirleaf said Liberia is not as diversified as Columbia.   

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