President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Assures Guinean Delegation
MONROVIA, March 23 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reassured her Guinean counterpart, President Alpha Conde, that the Liberia will abide by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two countries last year to export Guinean iron ore through Liberia's port.
Last year, Liberia and Guinea signed an MOU to allow the export of iron ore produced at its Nimba project in Guinea, by the West Africa Exploration SA (WAE), through Liberia's seaport in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
"Our commitment is firm," an Executive Mansion press statement quotes the Liberian leader as telling a 12-member Guinean delegation that paid a courtesy call on her Friday in Monrovia.
The West Africa Exploration SA (WAE) is mining the ore in Guinea.
The Guinean delegation was in Liberia to make a formal presentation to the Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee (IMCC), on how WAE expects to proceed with the project.
During the meeting, President Sirleaf expressed delight at the visit of the Guinean delegation here, to embark on the technical details of the process and encouraged them to develop a work plan and a roadmap that is time bound, noting, "the sooner you tackle it, the sooner we can find solutions" to any problems that might crop up.
The Liberian President pointed out that countries in the sub-region, particularly the Mano River Union, are very anxious for transformation as the overall population are younger, official development assistance is declining, and global competition is more intense today.
"Unless we are able to put our own natural resources to work in a very effective, transparent and resulting way, we will not be able to achieve our transformative goals," the Liberian leader warned.
She pointed out that this project being undertaken by the two countries is a major collaborative effort and hoped that during the discussions, everything will be detailed and time bound.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Mines and Geology, and head of the Guinean delegation, Karfalla Yansané, extended warm greetings and felicitation to the Liberian President from her brother and colleague, President Alpha Condé.
He later briefed her on the meeting with Liberia's Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee, which is intended to conduct technical diligence, third party discussions and negotiations with the view to entering into a binding infrastructure development agreement, for the development and usage of rail and port facilities in Liberia to export their iron ore.
"Let me say, technically, the project is on track; but there's still much work to be done to finalize it," Mr. Yansané said.
Some of the sticky issues that are being discussed include securing space in Yekepa, Nimba County and at the Port of Buchanan; third-party use of the railway, securing the environment along the corridor and ensuring that endangered species are not harmed by the project, among others, the release said.