By State House Communication Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, noting the difficult thematic and geo-political threats confronting global peace and security, has reiterated Sierra Leone’s broad policy ideals of promoting and protecting her national interest; of promoting sub-regional, regional and inter-African cooperation and unity; and for the consolidation of international peace and security.
The president made this statement this morning (Thursday 13th July) during his annual meeting with members of the diplomatic and consular corps accredited to Sierra Leone at State House in Freetown. The meeting was opened by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Samura M.W. Kamara.
“We hold dear the principles of mutual respect among all nations regarding the territorial integrity and independence as well as international law and treaty obligations. We support the settlement of international disputes by negotiation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication,” the head of state said, saying that Sierra Leone shall continue to condemn acts of terrorism, radicalism, extremism, racial, ethnic and religious persecution, and encourage sustained international engagement for a just and peaceful resolution of issues within, between and amongst countries.
President Koroma pointed out that Sierra Leone has just ended the implementation of the second phase of Post-Ebola Recovery Programme, which was widely acclaimed for its innovative approach in public service delivery. “We have been able to maintain a zero rate of Ebola infection, restore basic health services while building a better prepared and resilient health sector. We have been able to improve access to education and energy; strengthen social protection; and we are promoting a more responsive private sector. This is why we have established a fast tract commercial court, involve the public in the fight against corruption through the Pay No Bribe online platform, streamline business registration processes, and transform our quay, among several reforms,” he stated and went on to note that Sierra Leone’s economy is rebounding, although “we still have a lot to do”. “My Government will therefore continue to strengthen our governance system to make it more investment friendly. We will continue to support sectors that drive highly sustainable inclusive growth. We are building on our long tradition of free trade to strengthen our economic exchange with the rest of the world because we believe that this will provide us with a strong foundation for sustainable peace, democracy and development,” he said.
He reiterated government’s appreciation to the heads of diplomatic missions in the country and to their respective governments for their strong support to Sierra Leone during moments of difficulty.
President Koroma used the opportunity to repeat the aspirations of Africa through his good offices as Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government on the reform of the United Nations Security Council. “Africa strongly believes that the current configuration of the UN Security Council is grossly unjust, unfair and unrepresentative and that the reform of the UN Security Council is imperative to better reflect the world of today,” he maintained.
The head of state also used the occasion to formally launch the first ever Foreign Service Magazine titled the “Leone Diplomat” as well as the first ever Directory detailing all of Sierra Leone’s foreign missions and consulates.
In his opening remarks setting the stage for the forum, Dr Samura M.W. Kamara said that the annual leg of the collective interaction between President Koroma and the heads of diplomatic missions accredited to Sierra Leone is a milestone in advancing the country’s diplomatic and international relations. “It provides us an important and productive occasion to discuss the practical challenges and opportunities involved in our diplomatic and consular relations…it is also a forum meant to facilitate the President’s closer interaction with the Diplomatic and Consular corps.
Speaking on behalf of his colleague ambassadors, Dean of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, His Excellency Lotfullah Baliktiari, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran thanked President Koroma for what he described as his salient and creative innovation that continue to manifest his wisdom, focus and good intent which has attracted with pleasure all the members of the diplomatic community in Sierra Leone. The annual Presidential Forum for members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, he said, serves as an encouragement, renewal of energies and increase motivation that leaves its inspirational influence on members of the Diplomatic Community for doubling their continued committed efforts.