Liberia-Guinea Rail Project On Course — Foreign Minister Kemayah Assures President Alpha Condé in Conakry
Monrovia – Liberian Foreign Minister Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has assured Guinean President His Excellency Alpha Conde of President George M. Weah’s commitment to strengthening socio-economic ties with its northern neighbor, through the implementation of tangible bilateral projects—such as the rail link between Liberia and Guinea.
Minister Kemayah made the remark when a high-powered Liberian delegation, which was dispatched by President Weah to Guinea, held talks with President Condé on Friday, February 19, 2021.
Minister Kemayah also assured the Guinean leader that Liberia will leave no stone unturned in ensuring a timely implementation of the agreement signed by the two Presidents in October 2019.
That document committed both countries to the use of a connecting railroad to transport goods, services and people from Guinea through the Liberian port of Buchanan.
The Liberian Foreign Minister also emphasized President Weah’s commitment to ensuring that no inch of Liberian territory is used to ferment insurrection in Guinea or any Mano River Union country.
He called for enhanced cross-border cooperation as a means of fostering stronger partnership between the two countries and peoples.
The Minister conveyed a request from President Weah to his Guinean counterpart for the hosting of a summit of the Mano River Union heads of state in Liberia.
Amidst the global Coronavirus Pandemic and confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinea, Foreign Minister Kemayah in the meeting with President Conde of Guinea proposed the urgent convening of a Meeting of Health Ministers of the Mano River Union comprising of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cote Ivoire, and the proposal was accepted by the Guinean Government.
In response, the President of the Republic of Guinea H. E. Professor Alpha Conde re-committed Guinea to the rail link project, saying that both countries stand to reap enormous benefits for their people – including job creation.
The Guinea leader urged officials of both countries who are responsible for the execution of the project to move quickly to ensure that it is speedily implemented.
The Guinean leader used the occasion to thank President Weah for the strong cooperation between the two nations, especially in the areas of peace and security, trade and commerce.
He said he is also fully committed to ensuring that no inch of Guinean soil is used for insurrection in any Mano River Union country.
President Conde, who is the chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State of the Union, honored President Weah’s request for the hosting of MRU summit in Monrovia under the auspices of the Liberian Government.
He then indicated that the date for holding such summit will be decided after consultations amongst the four Presidents are held.
During the trip, the Liberian delegation, which included Transport Minister Sam Wlue, Maritime Commissioner Eugene Nagbe and the National Investment Commission Chairperson Molehwuleh Gray, also held working sessions with Guinean officials to discuss concrete actions that are to be taken in order to move forward with the implementation of the decision of both leaders.
Guinea Foreign Minister Ibrahim Kalil Kaba and the Country’s Minister in charge of Mines and Geology, Abdoulaye Magassouba, were amongst officials representing that country.
These exchanges led to the following conclusions:
1. That Republic of Guinea has now finalized the process of ratification and promulgation of the Protocol for the facilitation of the transport of Guinean-based natural resources.
The Liberian government has been notified of this action and assured that all arrangements have been made to finalize the ratification as soon as possible.
2. To date, authorization for Guinean mining products to go through Liberian territory has been granted by Guinea for two of the eligible mining projects, which are now awaiting formalization and authorization from Liberia and commercial negotiations between the relevant stakeholders.
3. The two parties have agreed to start as soon as possible the operationalization of the supervision and monitoring bodies provided for, in the Implementation Agreement. As such, they have undertaken to do everything possible so that the first meeting of the Inter-ministerial Monitoring Committee is held before the end of March 2021 and that the first session of the Inter-ministerial Supervisory Committee is held before the end of June 2021.
4. For efficient preparation of the meetings of the Monitoring and Supervisory Committees, the two parties have decided to set up a Task Force whose heads have been designated by each party. The Task Force will begin its work without delay by means of videoconferences twice a week, which will be organized by the National Investment Commission (NIC).
The delegations also tabled the options of utilizing the existing rail and the construction of a brand-new rail infrastructure.