By M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States
Sierra Leone’s first resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Arab Emirates with accreditation to other Gulf countries, H.E. Siray Alpha Timbo on Wednesday, 5th November, 2014 presented his Letters of Credence to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoumn, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai.
The colourful ceremony took place at the Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi. Nine new Ambassadors from the UK, Brazil and Australia amongst others, presented their credentials to the Vice President.
Presenting his diplomatic credentials, Ambassador Timbo conveyed warm greetings and felicitations from His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and People of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the President, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the UAE, His Highness Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Vice President, the Government and People of the UAE.
The envoy thanked the Vice President, his Government and the People of the UAE for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded him and his team since their arrival in the Emirates less than four months ago, wishing the Vice President and his People steady success and prosperity.
On his appointment by H.E. President Ernest Koroma as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Gulf State of UAE, Ambassador Timbo said that it is a demonstration of the importance Sierra Leone attaches to the already existing cordial ties between the two countries and promised to serve diligently in the interest of both countries.
President Koroma’s envoy promised to further nurture, concretize, consolidate and enhance the already existing diplomatic and economic relations between the two sister countries based on economic, political and cultural cooperation.
Our cooperation in having your great country, Ambassador Timbo furthered, to host the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Headquarters in Abu Dhabi and the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, is a clear testimony of the goodwill existing between the two countries.
He commended the UAE for its rapid economic development, peace, stability and security and also hailed the prudent policy adopted by the UAE under the leadership of President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Sierra Leone’s top diplomat in the UAE also used the opportunity to inform the host Government through the Vice President about the Ebola outbreak in his country. “Your Highness, you may have been following events in my country during the last few months. My nation is battling with the emergency outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease”, the soft-spoken Ambassador said.
He also disclosed that the Sierra Leone Government in collaboration with its International Development Partners rolled out a six-month plan to eradicate the scourge. “We count on good friends like Your Highness and the United Arab Emirates Government to help us through this trying period of our history.”
Concluding, the Ambassador said his success during his tour of duty depends largely on the support and commitment of the UAE Government. “Your country is famous for efficiency, altruism, hard work and strong belief in the Almighty Allah. With all that, I am optimistic and feel at home in the United Arab Emirates,” Ambassador Timbo concluded.
In accepting Ambassador Timbo’s credentials and the other newly accredited Ambassadors, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Rashid bin Maktoum formally welcomed them to the UAE and assured them of UAE’s cooperation and support to make their tenure of office a success. He wished them a happy and successful stay in the UAE and asked them to convey his greetings to the leaders of their respective countries.
The Vice President assured them that they will be accorded hospitality and cooperation by the Government and People of the UAE, for them to easily perform their missions. He said that the UAE, as part of the global village and as a signatory to the UN charter will respect all the diplomatic protocols and encouraged the Ambassadors to make all the necessary visits to the whole of the UAE and acquaint themselves with the UAE policies, culture and vision.
He also stressed the UAE’s constant endeavour to develop economic, cultural and tourism relations with Sierra Leone and the other countries. Earlier, Ambassador Timbo inspected an official guard of honour. A military band also played the Sierra Leone national anthem and those of other countries. The Ambassador was accompanied by his wife, Haja Martha Timbo and the Head of Chancery, Eric B. Gamanga. A number of Sheikhs, Ministers and senior state officials in the UAE also attended the ceremony.
In another related development, the Ambassador on Sunday, 2nd November, 2014 also presented his credentials as Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – an intergovernmental organization with financial knowledge on renewable energy that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.
The colorful credentials presentation ceremony took place at the IRENA Headquarters in Abu Dhabi. In accepting the credentials, the Director General of the Abu Dhabi-based Agency, Dr. Adnan Amin commended Sierra Leone for the active role it has always played to IRENA from its preparatory days in 2008, through its formation in 2009 to its present day.
He commended the Sierra Leone’s President Koroma, for his support to IRENA and for having attended one of their summits. He noted the active participation played by Sierra Leoneans since 2008, including the Permanent Representative, Ambassador Timbo, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Professor Ogulande Davidson amongst others. He assured Ambassador Timbo of his personal cooperation at all times and wished him success. The Ambassador thanked Dr. Amin and staff and assured them of his active participation. He noted that Sierra Leone was amongst the first eight countries to win the first cycle of the IRENA Renewable Energy competition, leading to garnering a soft loan of $9M from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development for the construction of a 5MW Solar Farm in Freetown.
In another engagement, Ambassador Timbo delivered a speech as Guest of Honour at the Annual Prize Day Ceremony of the Cambridge High School in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, 20th November 2014. He thanked them for according him the privilege of speaking at the ceremony as ‘Chief Guest’ less than four months after taking up appointment as Ambassador to the UAE. “Without education, this gathering would not have occurred; and without education, we would not have known each other. The power of education to change not only the individual but the whole world cannot be underestimated,” he told his audience.
The envoy added that an educated person, an educated community, an educated society and an educated world is the engine of growth and prosperity. He reiterated that it is a truism that learning is better than silver and gold and that learning is a smooth road to silver and gold.
Historically, he pointed out, Sierra Leone has an excellent record in educational achievements as she at one time was referred to as ‘the Athens of West Africa’, taking credit for the schooling of most first-generation educated West Africans. He also informed them that Sierra Leone has the first university in sub-Sahara Africa.