Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to The People’s Republic of China Hosts MRU

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Three Embassies of the Mano River Union countries in the People’s
Republic of China, (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) currently
plagued by the deadly Ebola Epidemic have on Friday, July 11, agreed
to work collaboratively to approach the ECOWAS Group of Ambassadors
(EGA) in the PRC to lay emphasis and stress on the devastating effects
of this plague on the Sub-Region and to solicit international
awareness and assistance.

The call for collaborative action comes following a meeting at the
Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing of Heads of Embassies of the 3(three)
affected MRU countries and in preparation for an upcoming meeting of
the ECOWAS Group of Ambassadors (EGA) in the PRC.

Also discussed during the meeting was the need for MRU countries to
work very closely towards realization of the Sub-Regional Makona River
Union Free Zone Project. They dilated on the values and economic
benefits of the Makona River Free Zone Project to the Republics of
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the first instance and then by
extension, to the entire ECOWAS Sub-Region. The three diplomats agreed
to relentlessly work towards the implementation of the Free Zone
Project

Speaking on what should be done very quickly about the Ebola outbreak
in the three countries, it was agreed, that the concern be presented
to the EGA, so that the EGA could subsequently fully brief the
government of the People’s Republic of China, through the Forum On
China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to seek further support to fight the
deadly Ebola Epidemic.

His Excellency, Victor Bockarie Foh called the Ebola Epidemic in the
three MRU countries “a sad chapter as it is claiming the lives of
people in all the countries” With plans for an ECOWAS Group of
Ambassadors (EGA) meeting, suggested by the Ambassador of Cape Verde,
Ambassador Foh said, “this is an issue that should be presented to
EGA, AU and then FOCAC.

He informed the meeting that “this is the time for stronger
collaboration” In support of efforts our Presidents and home
governments are doing to combat the plague. He informed the meeting
that President Ernest Bai Koroma and his government were very
vigorously and with all at their disposal, pursuing extermination of
the Ebola and added that as a government, special treatment centers
have been established for rapid medical responses.

He informed his colleague diplomats that President Koroma, his Vice
President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers have all volunteered
handsome percentages of their July salaries towards fight against the
Ebola. According to Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh, “this is an
indication of commitment of the Sierra Leone Government to fight this
deadly Ebola.”

In his contribution, Charge de Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of
Liberia in the People’s Republic of China , Jimmy G Barchue thanked
Ambassador Foh for calling the meeting to discuss such a deadly
pressing health hazard currently plaguing three out of four MRU
countries. He disclosed that his Government is also working round the
clock to address the Ebola Epidemic. Jimmy Barchue gave statistics of
fatalities and measures so far taken by the Liberian government to
combat the disease and he disclosed further that the Liberia National
Legislature has been closed and “Legislators are in their
Constituencies on Public Education drive”

Bah Thierno Maadjou, Charge d’Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of
Guinea in the PRC, briefed the meeting on the state of the Ebola
Epidemic in Guinea and steps so far being taken by the Guinean
government to fight and exterminate the Ebola. He informed the meeting
that considerable education and assistance is given to the people to
improve their sanitation, general health conditions and diet and added
that Public Health Education was crucial in fighting Ebola and that
the government of the Republic of Guinea was on road doing this.

On yet another matter of MRU Sub-Regional dimension, Ambassador Foh
restated to the meeting that the Presidents of three countries –
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone gave the nod to the Makona River Free
Zone Project some two years ago and again, at the recent MRU Summit
held in Conakry, Republic of Guinea, the MRU Secretariat was mandated
to engage Finance Institutions in the People’s Republic of China,
particularly EXIM Bank for implementation of the Project.

Both representatives of Liberia and Guinea underscored the economic
viability of the Economic Free Zone along the Makona River. In the
words of the Guinean Charge d’Affairs, “the Project will be a good
move for our Sub-Regional development strategy as it will help our
countries to fast track development of all sectors of their economies.

On the Liberia side, Jimmy Barchue said “as an Embassy, the Liberian
Mission in the PRC attaches great importance to the Makona River Free
Zone Project as we all stand to benefit from it. This Project will
open up the three countries and beyond,” he concluded.

Ambassador Foh said, “Joint effort was needed to push the Free Zone
Project forward” The three Presidents, he reiterated, are all
committed to seeing the realization of this Project”

The expected Development Results of the Makona River Free Zone Project
include, but not limited to; a boom in Infrastructure in terms of
Transport, Logistic and other sectorial development; Agriculture and
Plantation development; Mining development; Free Zone/Industrial Zone
and related Urban Development and Trade and Investment.

At the end of their meeting, the three Diplomats jointly commended
Presidents Alpha Conde of Guinea, Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and
Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone for the robust fight they’ve waged
against the Ebola. The Diplomats resolved to go with One Voice to
report to the ECOWAS Group of Ambassadors (EGA).

Sierra Leone Embassy
People’s Republic of China, Beijing

John Baimba Sesay,M.A, B.A (Hons) FBC-USL
Press Attaché
Sierra Leone Embassy
7 Dong Zhi Men Wai Dajie,
Chaoyang District, Beijing
People’s Republic of China
100600
*Tel: 0086-13701206875*
* Fax:0086-1065323752*

Public relations are a key component of any operation in this day of
instant communications and rightly inquisitive citizens. -Alvin Adams

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