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LIBERIA-US RELATIONS: 3 SUCCESSIVE FEMALE AMBASSADORS’ ACCOUNTS

Jacob N.B. Parley
Pres. Sirleaf and the three US. Ambassadors
Pres. Sirleaf and the three US. Ambassadors

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Liberia and the Government of the United States of America continue to growover the years in many positive aspects.

America, strongly seen by many political and diplomatic minds as one of the world’s powerful democracies, has enjoyed cordial diplomatic relationswith Liberia over aCentury.

When Liberia, in 1847, officially informed the global community that she had reached the maturity stage of nationhood and was therefore in the position to begin exercising her sovereignty, Great Britain was the first country that recognized Liberia’s independence.

The United States, too, recognized Liberia’s independence in 1862. The US’recognition of Liberia as an independent nation,gave birth to the friendly interactions between the two nations, though not onfull scale basis, but on consular level.

The two countries began full diplomatic relations during the Administration of President William V.S. Tubman, Jr.Knowledgeable and highly credible individuals in Liberia’s diplomatic circles have told me that since the two countries began diplomatic relations, the post-war era of their cordial relations has taken another positive trend.

Reference can be made to the glaring gender balance, demonstrated by the US over the years, in assigning both male and female diplomats to Liberia as being the positive trend.

Such positive trend especially began since the inception of the Unity Party-led Government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

The leadership of President Sirleaf continues to inspire a lot of women, not only Liberian and African women, but women of the entire Global Community.

Today, as I put these sentences together, the United States Government has accredited another female Ambassador to Liberia.  She is   Christine Ann Elder.

During the time the new US   Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Liberia was presenting her letters of credence to President Sirleaf, I managed to follow the program by radio while laying on my sick bed on that historic-making day.

As a practicing Development Diplomat, I always love to take up time to follow developments relating to international relations.

This is whyI, most often, write stories and do reports on diplomatic developments in both the electronic and print media to the effect that my colleagues often refer to me as “Diplomatic Correspondent.”

Indeed, if Liberia does have diplomatic correspondents, then, I aspire to be one, and if there is not one at all, I equally aspire to be the first Liberian in this field.

BACK TO THE ISSUE:

I couldn’t have written this feature right away, because, as I mentioned earlier, I was not well. I had to ask my employer (the management of the Liberia Broadcasting System) to allow me time off to attend to my health. Thanks to the Almighty God for stabilizing my health and for enabling me restart work.

The recent presentation of Ambassador Elder’s letters of credence to the Liberian Chief Executive, Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf, brings to three, the number of female envoys the United States Government has named to take up assignment in Liberia, beginning with Madam Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

To reflect a moment, Ambassador Greenfield, whose work inspired the Liberian Government and people, left the country with what I call a diplomatic grade card containing high marks. 

Popularly referred to as the “People’s Ambassador,” Madam  Greenfield received one of Liberia’s highest distinctions at an elaborate Investiture Program held at the Foreign Ministry by the Liberian Government.

Madam Greenfield was succeeded byAmbassadorDeborah R.Malac.Ambassador Malac, who recently ended her diplomatic tour in Liberia, also did extremely well in her interactions with the Liberian Government and people. 

As a mark of appreciation for Ambassador Malac’s great work, the Liberian Government also honored her at another well-executed Investiture program at the Foreign Ministry by conferring on her one of Liberia’s highest honors.

WHAT DID AMBASSADOR ELDER SAY?

While Ambassador Elder was being received in audience by President Sirleaf during the presentation of letters of credence, she expressedsatisfaction for her assignment to Liberia.

The new US envoy informed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that she has the full backing and support of both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for her Liberian mission.“

I am very proud of our team in Liberia and I appreciate the many things they have done to help the country with its transformation process,” Ambassador Elder told President Sirleaf. 

She described the United States Government’s partnership and cooperation with Liberia as impressive. The U.S. Ambassador said she looks forward to working along with President Sirleaf till the very last days of her administration.

Ambassador Elder also assured the Liberian Government and people   that the United States Government would cooperate with and support Liberians in their post UNMIL society.

She was, however, quick to point out the needfor Liberians to build peace amongst themselves.

LIBERIA’S PROGRESS:

Ambassador Elder also said the United States of America and Liberia would continue to cooperate; noting that the US has sincerely acknowledged Liberia’s huge progress.

“You have demonstrated an extraordinary leadership and commitment to Liberia’s transformation. The visit of First Lady, Michelle Obama,to Liberia will also help strengthen the relationship between the two nations,”Ambassador Elder also observed.

HAILING PRESIDENT SIRLEAF:

While presenting the letters of credence to President Sirleaf,Ambassador Christine Ann Elder praisedthe Liberian Leader for her exceptional leadership in lifting Liberia up.

The commendation, according to her, was based on Liberia’spowerful, respected voice and its ongoing efforts to fight corruption on the Continent, and assured more U.S. support to Liberia.

I think the appointments of three succeeding diligent female United States Ambassadors to Liberia, coupled with the frequent visits of several high profiled past and present dignitariesand institutions from the U.S. worth celebrating.

I wish to take this opportunity to welcome the new American envoy to Liberia. As I mentioned earlier, Ambassador Elder’s predecessors well played their respective roles.

I am quite sure that, as a matter of tradition and procedure, she has done a careful and thorough review of their worksthrough the necessary diplomatic inventory.

This, I believe, will give Ambassador Elder the opportunity to know where to start from, know what her two predecessors did and know what programs they might not have completed that may need more attention  in the context of stimulating  the cordiality that continues to characterize Liberia-US relations.

Once more, let me use this medium to join othersin welcoming Ambassador Elder to Liberia.

LONG LIVE LIBERIA-US RELATIONS! -BY JACOB N.B. PARLEY/BENJAMIN S. TAINGAY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jacob Parley holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Diplomacy from the Foreign Service Institute. He currently serves as an Associate Editor at the Liberia Broadcasting System. Prior to this position, he served as News Director,Editor-In-Chief (twice), News Editor, Executive Mansion Correspondent and a Former Vice President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), etc.He’sreachable through:jacobtheancestor@yahoo.com,or +231886560455/+231777604576

 


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