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Gov’t, Cote d ‘Ivoire On Strategic
Land, Maritime Boarders Meeting

By Precious D. Freeman

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Cote d’Ivoire has held a strategic meeting on land and maritime boarders.
The meeting which was held yesterday at the Ministry of Internal Affairs was intended to develop operational plan related to land and maritime boarder based on the allegations of illegal mining, maritime piracy, deforestation, destruction of cross-border biodiversity and conflicts over waterways.
The occasion brought together dignitaries from both countries in order to develop a strategic and operational action-plan taking into account all the issues related to the management of the land and maritime borders.
Making remarks, the Minister of Internal Affairs Varney A. Sirleaf said that they have invited senior technicians of the relevant authorities of both countries to jointly develop the strategy, taking into consideration the experience of Cote d’Ivoire in developing similar strategies with Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ghana and Mali.
“I charge you to identify the common problems of border management as defined areas of intervention and land water boarder and together we will make recommendations to our respective authorities,” he said.
According to him, while Liberia promotes ECOWAS policy on free movement, they need the cooperation of Cote d’Ivoire as they find solution to the Burkinabe influx particularly in the forest of Grand Gedeh, and parts of Nimba, Rivergee and Maryland Counties.
“We are currently working on a strategy towards this problem, but it will require the cooperation and support of borders and sisters of Cote d’Ivoire because of the long and porous border between both countries.
Minister Sirleaf added that Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire have enjoyed a longstanding relationship for many years, and that the former and current leaders have been great friends dating back to President Felix Houphouet Boigny and President William VS Tubman and Williams R. Tolbert.
He continued that the renewed Liberia-Cote d’Ivoire friendship is one of the biggest in the Mano River basin, evidenced by their successes in security intelligence sharing, communication, cross-border trade and free movement across the border.
The Internal Affairs Minister maintained that despite these achievements, more need to be done, especially in addressing emerging issues.
“The illegal entry and settlement of un-documented aliens believed to be Burkinabes are high on our agenda and there are reports of illicit mining, logging, farming and other commercial activities including possession of land,” he said.
Meanwhile, he is calling on MRU, ECOWAS and AU to support Liberia for border management issues, adding that they are also calling for similar support for Cote d’Ivoire.
Speaking further the executive secretary of the National Border Commission of Cote d’Ivoire and head of the delegation of Konate Diakalidia said that Cote d’Ivoire National Border Commission has been working with Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso since it was set up in 2021.
He added that they are working with partners to build capacities and strengthening relationships to enhance safer land and maritime borders.
He noted that the National Border Commission of Cote d’Ivoire will work with the Liberian counterparts to enhance boarder security.
For his part, the resident coordinator of Mano River Union in Liberia, Thomas Jallah said the idea of securing borders is critical to all nations in the Mano River Union Region.
He added that Peace and Security are major pillars of MRU and as such, because without peace and security, economic integration among countries in the region will be impossible.

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