The Resident Minister East Williams Juana Smith has praised the efforts of His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in renewing ties with developed nations in the world in the interest of development for the country. He made this statement during an hour long familiarization tour to Kenema by the Israeli Ambassador to Senegal and Sierra Leone Gideon Bihar who is resident in Dakar. Smith expressed delight over the visit of the Ambassador to Kenema after several years. He said the ties between Sierra Leone and Israel in the sixties benefited many Sierra Leoneans and the country in general citing the Parliament building among others as valuable contributions made by Israel towards the development of the country. He disclosed that in the seventies many Sierra Leoneans were sent to Israel to be trained in the field of agriculture, military and other courses as a way to strengthen the manpower of Sierra Leone. Adding that the ties between the two countries was cut off as a result of a decision formally taken by (OAU) the Organization of Africa Unity now known as Africa Union (AU) because of the warfare between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries.
William Juana Smith further explained to the Ambassador that the Eastern region suffered the most during the country’s 10 years civil war.
He appealed to the Israeli government through the Ambassador to help government address the problems of youth unemployment and establish a permanent embassy in Sierra Leone. Ambassador Gideon Bihar said Israel established Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation in 1958 that trained over 260,000 professionals across the world most of whom he said were Africans. He added that Israel’s programme of development cooperation in Africa is a moral commitment undertaken by the first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion with the aim of establishing the principle of mutual assistance and equality for basic international relation.
Ambassador Bihar has called on Sierra Leoneans to take proper care of their natural resources especially the forest vegetation across the country which he said is very important for man’s existence. He appealed to all to be united at all times as unity brings development.
By Saffa Moriba