With a sense of appreciation and gratitude, Zainab Bangura, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation , over the weekend showered praises on the Government and people of Egypt for what she termed as “a cordial bilateral relationship and technical supports” to Sierra Leone.
“Our relationship with Egypt has been a big success as they contributed to the human resource development and technical assistance of Sierra Leone through agriculture, medicine, scholarship and military,” she said. “Recognizing the role of Egypt as peace broker and its support towards the socio-economic growth of the country, the president has deemed it necessary to establish our diplomatic mission in Egypt when resources are available.”
Bangura said Egypt has supported Islamic education in Sierra Leone through the provision of scholarships for Sierra Leoneans to pursue courses at Azhar University in Cairo.
Both Sierra Leone and Egypt, she stated, had collaborated at a multilateral level under the auspices of the United Nations, African Unity and the community of Sahel Saharan states, an organization of Islamic conference.
“As a Government, we recognized that one of the means of sustainable peace is free and fair election,” Bangura stated. “We shall therefore continue to conduct internationally credible elections and also uphold the fundamental values of democracy and good governance.”
Part of the reason for civil conflict, she maintained, was as a result of bad governance and marginalization.
She did not, however, indicate or single out which of the political system provoked civil conflict in Sierra Leone.
Mahmoud Ezzat, the Ambassador of Egypt to Sierra Leone, said July 23rd was a significant day as it was on that day when Egypt was declared a republic after the abolition of monarchy, through a peaceful revolution without a single drop of blood.
He said the relationship between the Arab Republic of Egypt and Sierra Leone could be dated as far back as 1961 when Sierra Leone attained independence.
On cultural relations, he noted there are some 37 Arabic teachers who are fully paid by the Azhar Islamic University in Cairo to help improve the educational system in Sierra Leone since last year.
He added that five scholarships are already slated for Sierra Leonean students to resume studies in Egypt.
Ezzat continued that many training courses ranging between three to six months in diplomacy, police education, civil aviation and agriculture have been afforded to Sierra Leoneans to develop their human resource capacity in Egypt.
By Solomon Rogers