Liberia: Foreign Ministry Initiates Reform to Enhance Future Diplomatic Policy Agenda

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MONROVIA – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Dee-Maxwell Kemayah’s leadership has initiated a reform agenda aimed at enhancing the future of foreign policy agenda of the Republic for effective service delivery and timely response to duties.

The transformative agenda which is being implemented under the theme: “Envisioning and enhancing the future of the foreign policy agenda of the Republic of Liberia – during and post COVID – 19”, is lined up with the shared vision of President George Weah.

Speaking at a retreat that brought a hundred participants from various departments, bureaus, sections, units of the ministry as well as members of the diplomatic corps, Foreign Minister Kemaya explained that to achieve the objective of enhancing the future of Liberia’s foreign policy, infrastructure, logistics and human resources should be “central factors of appraisal”. Therefore, he says the Ministry must embark on “stock taking exercises through retreats, brainstorming sessions, meetings and other helpful ventures.”

“The objective of this retreat like previous ones is to develop a common understanding to enhance the shared vision of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) as enshrined in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD),” Ambassador Kemayah said.

 He added: “Considering that diplomatic missions are the first ports of calls with regards to strengthening Liberia’s image and inspiring confidence in the Ministry’s service delivery, the outputs from this retreat is expected to recommend concrete actions for improved image and to further Liberia’s economic development and prosperity.”

Mr. Laurent Delahousse, head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, said Security, prosperity must guide the activities of foreign service workers.

According to him, security has more to do with co-operation and necessary for building strong ties among the comity of nations.

Mr. Delahousse: “Liberia has a challenge there, suffering from under-representation in the governing bodies of regional organizations, in ECOWAS and at the African Union. However, Liberia has a lot to offer to the region and to the world. Your recent history gives you legitimacy and authority to understand and stress the importance of investing in preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Liberia, with its 150 military personnel in the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA is Mali, is giving back to the region and the international community what is has received from them. The international community has given a lot to Liberia; Liberia has what it takes to give back and has a voice that will be heard and listened to. Therefore, I would encourage Liberia to have a more active role and involvement in regional and international affairs and issues of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Your voice will be heard because you are an example.”

The EU head of mission promised to ensure that he and his colleagues from European Mission in Monrovia work increasingly as a team and make the European approach more visible in their programming of European development cooperation in the new programming cycle 2021-2027.

He went on urge foreign service workers to build a diplomatic network that would contribute to and enhance national prosperity.

“Ambassadors and diplomats are lobbyists for their country. Their role is to project themselves out of the Embassy and to meet as many stakeholders of the bilateral relationship as possible: officials from the host country, people in business and potential investors and their organizations, the media, NGOs present in your country, influencers and artists and academics and think-tanks: there’s lots of people to exchange with out there,” he said.

Ambassador Delahousse also reminded the Foreign Service workers that the image of the country abroad starts with their representation.

“Diplomats must be very strict with immunities: they are a protection but they also bring duties and responsibilities. Immunities only protect diplomats within the boundaries of their professional activity. They don’t offer protection against acts of a private nature that contradict local rules and regulations. Diplomats are not exempt from paying parking tickets or utilities for their residences, they must comply with regulations on illicit substances or duty-free imports. There must be a necessary solidarity among diplomats to obey the charges as well as reap the benefits of the profession, to defend its image in the general public, which is sometimes not very good,” he said.

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