The Chairlady of the Mano River Union (MRU) Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said at the post summit press conference that Yenga was not on the agenda of the summit.
She was answering questions from journalists who pointed out that Yenga was perhaps they greatest security threat, and wanted to know what was discussed.
The Liberian leader answered “No Yenga was not on our agenda but I am pleased to note that this is a matter that Sierra Leone and Guinea have been discussing and are finding a proper solution to that.”
Pressed further she said “Yenga is an on going process, dialogue is going on at appropriate levels, solutions are being formed, and we think there has been positive and successful progress that has been made in resolving this matter”.
Questioned whether the issue of the elections for Ivory Coast which has been postponed again was discussed, again the Liberian President said “”No that was not on our agenda we were only being informed and as I said if there is any way we can support the policies and action of our brother President Bagbo and the government of Ivory Coast in that regard we will but that’s not a matter for the Mano River Union that’s a domestic matter a decision will be made domestically and politically by the authorities of Ivory Coast.”
Pressed further she said “With Ivory Coast … they have made a lot of progress they are formulating new timetables they have the support of external partners including the United Nations. We in the Mano River Union just monitor it and we just be a partner to them playing a role that they see fit. As of now the Union as the Union at the summit did not have a specific role because no specific role was called for we merely are satisfied with the progress that has made on both of those counts.”
Earlier President Ernest Bai Koroma in welcoming the Heads of State to the extraordinary summit of the Mano River Union called for a change of the traditional system of financing the organization.
The President said it has become clear over the years that the funding system of the organization is “most unreliable” given the background of the meager resources of the member countries and through external donor contributions which are unreliable and inadequate.
President Koroma suggested a more in-depth review of the report of the meeting of the forum for Alternative Financing and recommended its adoption and submission to ECOWAS
The President said that common solutions must be found on critical issues like “HIV/AIDs, interstate crimes and drug trafficking that cut across our common borders and continue to pose a threat to our peace and stability.”
President Koroma admonished his colleague leaders “not to forget that the consolidation of peace and maintenance of security and stability should be the cornerstone of all our grand plans,” adding “Let us strive to stay conflict free and make a conscious effort to discourage the fomenting of discord in all its forms.”
In his remarks to the Heads of States the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to West Africa Ambassador Said Djinnit noted that “the sub region faces many challenges some recurrent some new.”
He stated that he was “especially concerned about drug trafficking which threatens to undermine state institutions and democratic processes.” The MRU he suggested “can play an indispensable role in responding to this and other ills by sharing information and coordinating interventions.”
Questioned about what was discussed on the issue of drug trafficking, the Liberian president said “We need first to understand the nature of the problem or the extent in which it is becoming a problem for us in the sub region. We know only of incidences where there have been ships that have been intercepted on the sea, where governments have been able to discover the movement of drugs within the country but headed for cross border. What we intend to do is to strengthen our security apparatus and the exchange of intelligence and information until we can understand the strain and then formulate a proper response for it.”
In her remarks to Awoko the Foreign Minister Mrs Zainab Hawa Bangura said the main issue of the summit was to develop a proper security infrastructure for the sub region.
She also mentioned the food crisis which she pointed out President Koroma has made one of his important tasks.
On the challenges of food security within the sub region, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said “The real solution to the food crisis is for all of us in all of our countries to grow more food and that means introducing new farming methods successful irrigation better type of seeds better extension services so that we can get more yields and we can be able then to exchange some of the successes from one country to the other thereby increasing the production and the productivity across the four countries. Our agriculture ministers have been formed into a group they have been meeting for the past few months they met the last few days in Monrovia they reported to the summit today they are preparing a project which we hope we will get the support of the World Bank to be able to increase our food production effort.”
A communiqué was issued and read out by the Liberian Minister of Planning. By Kelvin Lewis