69th Session of UN General Assembly : Sierra Leone’s Deputy Foreign Minister engaged in committee and bi-lateral meetings in New York


Sierra Leone’s  Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation , Dr. Ebun Strasser -King, has been engaged in the committee and bi-lateral phases of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

As leader of  the second segment of the Sierra Leone delegation to the Assembly, along with the Deputy Director -General of the Foreign Ministry Mr. Paul A.S.Minah, Dr. Strasser -King arrived in New York on Monday October 12 on board SN Brussels  . During this second segment of the General Assembly, which started on Tuesday October 13, the Deputy Foreign Minister has been busy working in committees and attending few bi-laterals with countries interested in diplomatic engagements with Sierra Leone.



Dr. Strasser-King attended the UN Security Council Meeting titled ” Peace and Security in Africa-Ebola “. This was the second emergency Security Council meeting, which addressed the potential of the Ebola outbreak in derailing peace and security in the three countries most hardly hit  by the scourge — Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. During the meeting, the Permanent Representative, Mr. Vandi Minah, thanked the UN for the formation of the United Nations Mission on Ebola Emergency Response and  noted that  the time for action was now . He said that medics have proved that Ebola can be defeated , making the disease a thing of the past.

In her next engagement on October 15 , the Deputy Foreign Minister delivered a statement at the Third Committee , under Item 28 , titled “Advancement of Women”.  In her statement, the Minister  reaffirmed Sierra Leone’s commitment to the agenda on the advancement of women and welcomed the initiatives and commitments relating to the declaration of 2010 to 2020 as the “African Women’s Decade”.  She also mentioned the Country’s National Action Plan on Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on Sexual Violence thereby relating it to issues such as Youth, Children and disability. She noted that amidst all these developments, the Ebola outbreak is a potential threat to the sustainability of these gains.



The Minister then attended a meeting , entitled :  What Can We Do to Empower Rural Women in the Post- 2015 Development Agenda? ” . This meeting was organized by World Food Programme(WFP), UN Women, IFAD and FAO. The Chair of the event was Ambassador Guillermo Rischynski of CanadaAfter deliberations, the meeting converged on the following:

  • The need for Women to be engaged in Rural Agriculture which is crucial to Food Security.
  • The need to catalyze legal budgetary reforms that make Women self-sufficient.
  • The social mobilization of Women.
  • To identify concrete actions to help Rural Women.
  • The 2011 and 2012 General Assembly Resolutions on the situation of Rural Women to be strengthened.
  • The need to mainstream Gender in other Development Goals.

The Deputy Minister’s fourth engagement was a bilateral meeting on October 16  between her , the Deputy Director -General of the Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations in New York, H.E. Rudolfo Rodriguez,  held at the UN Delegates’ Lounge. The purpose of the meeting was to express appreciation for Cuban Support to Sierra Leone including the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.

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The Sierra Leone delegation  thanked Cuba for her bilateral assistance to the country . The delegation noted that Cuba had sent  32 doctors in 2010,  about 29 in 2012 and for the Ebola she  sent 165 medical professionals, 63 doctors and 102 nurses and other categories  . The Minister added that   the advent of the Ebola Disease is an indication that the health System in Sierra Leone is weak. The delegation told the Cuban PR that Sierra Leone needs tremendous support not only to fight the Ebola Disease but also, and more importantly, to strengthen the health sector. The   Sierra Leone  Deputy Foreign Minister said she looks forward to the continued presence of Cuban doctors and teachers in the country, even after the Ebola outbreak and that  the relations between Cuba and Sierra Leone have been long standing as evident in the exchange of visits over the years by officials of both countries and the establishment of the Sierra Leone/Cuba Joint Commission . The Sierra Leone delegation moreover looked forward to the reopening of Embassies in Freetown and Havana to strengthen the bilateral ties existing between the two countries.

The  Cuban Permanent Representative  affirmed that Sierra Leone  has been the most effective in fighting the Ebola virus in the sub region and he urged the country  to continue to work hard in sustaining the  effort  made so far . He assured the Sierra Leone delegation that  Cuba stands ready to cooperate with Sierra Leone at all levels and fervently welcomed the strengthening of the mutual relations at the ambassadorial level . In  the interim , he looks forward to the presentation of credentials by the Sierra Leone Permanent Representative to the Cuban Government . Cuba also wholeheartedly looks forward to Sierra Leone’s continued support for the Cuban Resolution :  ‘US Sanction on Cuba”.

On October 20, Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Strasser-King held a bi-lateral meeting with the Canadian Ambassador, H.E. Guillermo Rischynski . During the meeting, Dr.Strasser-King  thanked the Canadian Ambassador for his country’s  role in the Peace Building Commission and also for their support of the Security Council Resolution 2177 which resulted in the setting up of the United Nations Mission for the Ebola Emergency response (UNMEER). She also requested that there was need for a Country like Canada to think of researching on a vaccine that could nip Ebola in the bud.

Responding the Canadian Ambassador underscored the fact that , from their study of the country, Sierra Leone had so much hope for socio-economic  growth, which has been undermined and devastated by the Ebola outbreak. He  theorized that the disease itself is an epidemiological challenge to even the Western World,  not to talk about a developing Country like Sierra Leone. He stressed the need for the Public to be educated about Ebola  both in the US and other parts of the Western World and emphasized the need for a replication of the Centre for Disease Control in West Africa that could look into future outbreaks.

The sixth bi-lateral meeting for the Deputy Foreign Minister was held between her and the Permanent Representative of Ireland, H.E. Tim Mawe. Dr. Strasser-King  thanked the Irish PR for his country’s  support towards curbing the Ebola Virus in Sierra Leone and  she requested  their continued support in the fight to rid Sierra Leone of the scourge.  Ireland’s support to Sierra Leone   has been primarily in food aid to bolster our nutrition programs. They recently in October sent a high level delegation to Freetown to determine the level of support to be sent  for Ebola. They also  made a significant donation of food through the WFP for quarantined communities and  Sierra Leone is one of the countries receiving the greatest aid in nutrition from  Irish Aid .She also lauded Canada for Irish Aid, which  supported the  Sierra Leone Government in writing the Agenda for Prosperity (AfP) particularly the pillar 8. Irish Aid, it must be recalled,  hosted the Round Table Discussion during the Committee on the Status of Women this year . Irish Aid is also supporting scaling up nutrition and the secretariat hosted in VPs office. They also support the rainbow centers that provide free medical treatment to victims of sexual violence among others.

The Minister also thanked Ireland for support to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in mapping partners working gender issues as enshrined in the Agenda for Prosperity.

In response the  PR  of Ireland extended his sympathy to the nation for the loss of lives during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. He said that  Ireland will continue to support the Country during this time of need and  spoke of high hopes for the viability of the serum , even though he was worried about the quantum since the population of the infected people is rising  by the day.

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