By State House Communication Unit
His Excellency the President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma returned to Freetown today Thursday, 11th May 2017, after his two-nation visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Turkey where he held fruitful discussions on a wide range of issues including the further strengthening of Sierra Leone’s diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Turkey, trade, economic cooperation, and issues of regional and global peace and security.
This trip reflects the emphasis Sierra Leone places on enhancing cooperation and partnership with Saudi Arabia and Turkey given that both countries have been supportive of the country during difficult moments, a senior diplomat said yesterday.
During the course of the visit, President Koroma held fruitful meetings bordering on health – a National Referral Hospital of 500 bed capacity replete with state of the art equipment and staff quarters, roads infrastructure, communications, water and a host of other development matters including the annual pilgrimage to Mecca by Sierra Leonean Muslims.
In Turkey, he was welcomed with an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex where he inspected a guard of honour after the national anthems of the two countries were played. Immediately after the ceremony, the two leaders posed for the press and then proceeded to their meeting. They discussed a wide range of issues including collaboration and cooperation in combating global terrorism as well as strengthen institutions for the consolidation of peace and security.
“This first official visit [of a sitting Sierra Leone President] is a sign that we are continuing to deepen our relationship with the African continent especially in the latest period, and it is a turning point with regard to the development and strengthening of relations between the two countries,” the Turkish Presidency’s press center said before the meeting.
During the course of his presidency, President Koroma has carved out a niche for Sierra Leone on the international stage and positioned the country in a strategic way to benefit from the bilateral and multilateral socio-economic and political cooperation with other nations and international organizations. The hope is that these strong and fruitful diplomatic legacies being forged by President Koroma will be upheld and protected by the next president after the March vote in 2018.