France Fortifies Ties With Liberia
-Amidst Threat of Terrorism
The French Government has offered to strengthen cooperation with Liberia and its security sector amidst global threat of terrorism.
The revelation was made in a dispatch from the Liberian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicating that French Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Joel Godeau, made the offer during a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara on Thursday, May 19.The offer comes in the wake of the UN Mission drawdown and the turning over of security to Liberian authorities at the end of June 2016.
According to the dispatch, the French envoy said, though there is no specific or immediate threat against Liberia at this time, the country could be a soft target considering its relations with perceived enemies as was the case of some countries in the sub-region, including the attack at Grand-Bassam in Côte d’Ivoire recently.
The French diplomat highlighted his appreciation for the splendid cooperation that has characterized relations between the Mano River countries, including Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire in recent times.
Amb. Godeau noted that it is good that Mano River Union countries exchange information, including intelligence information, which he noted was crucial in the fight against terrorism, money laundering, and other criminal acts.
The French Ambassador commended the 53rd National Legislature for passing into law the Liberia Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015, which regulates the possession and use of small arms and light weapons in the country.
The law was passed on May 12, 2016 when the House of Representatives concurred with the Senate.
He told Min. Kamara that at the U.N. Security Council, a resolution has now been drafted, with the total support of France, to terminate the arms sanctions imposed on Liberia as well as terminate its committee set up in 2003 to monitor the arms embargo imposed on the country. The resolution is expected to be adopted at the UN Security Council shortly.
In response, Foreign Min. Kamara welcomed the French Ambassador and expressed solidarity with the French Government and people on the recent deaths of 15 French citizens on the Egypt Air airlines travelling from Paris, France to Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday, May 18.
However, she admitted Liberia’s vulnerability to terrorism, especially weaknesses in monitoring the borders; but indicated that government was making efforts in training and equipping personnel of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization to be present at all entry and exit points across the country and
thanked France for its offer of collaboration with Liberia’s security sector.
“I’m grateful for the offer of assistance where necessary and I am heartened that you are continuing your collaboration with the heads of our security agencies,” she said, noting that Liberia needs the support from all partners, including France.
Min. Kamara also thanked France for its support to the draft resolution that will lift the arms embargo on Liberia for good.