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Liberia: Internal Affairs Minister Sirleaf Meets Ivorian Counterpart to Strengthen Cross-border Peace, Security

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Abidjan – Internal Affairs Minister, Mr. Varney A. Sirleaf, is in the Ivorian capital Abidjan, as guest of the Ivorian Minister of Interior in furtherance of discussions held between Presidents George Manneh Weah and Alassane Ouattara in which the two ministers were mandated to work out details on enhancing bilateral cooperation for social cohesion in the context of cross-border peace consolidation, security, stability, trade and possible investment.

During a state visit of President Weah to Abidjan in 2018, the Liberian leader expressed commitment to forming stronger partnership with his Ivorian counterpart for betterment of citizenry of the sisterly countries. Particular emphasis was placed on sustenance of peace, security and boosting agriculture along the border which covers Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland Counties.

The Minister is accompanied by Mr. Samuel F. Dakana, National Security Reform Coordinator at the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs and Nimba County Superintendent, Mr. Dorr Cooper.

A press release from the Ministry of Internal Affairs says Mr. Sirleaf initiated discussion for holding the next phase of the Joint Council of Chiefs and Elders Meeting (JCCEM), which have been held twice, in Grand Gedeh, Liberia in 2013 and Guiglo, Côte d’Ivoire in 2016. Both events were attended by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and then President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

During a meeting with Ivorian Minister of Interior, Sidiki Diakite on last Wednesday, Minister Sirleaf made specific reference to how Liberia has been handling the refugee situation along with the UNHCR including support to voluntary Repatriation and local integration.

The two ministers also reviewed the 12-count joint Communiqué of the 2016 JCCEM, which was held in the Ivorian city of Guiglo, with the aim of consolidating efforts for implementation.

The Joint Communiqué, among other things calls for improved cross-border trade mainly for market women, youth empowerment and employment, peace and security, agriculture, and continuous dialogue for enhanced cooperation and coordination.

“Our President, Dr. Weah is determined to improve the lives of our people along the border while maintaining cordial relationship with Côte

d’Ivoire. That is why he has sent me to ensure this effort is realized and on time”. Minister Sirleaf emphasized the purpose of his visit during a meeting with Minister Diakite.

He believes with the close tie with Ivorian leadership, Liberia can make maximum use of the expertise of Côte d’Ivoire in the area of agriculture and development; the release quotes Minister Sirleaf as saying.

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