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President Koroma returns home from C-10 meet

08,Jul 2016
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By Amadu Lamrana Bah

President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in the afternoon of Friday July 1st 2016 returned home from a consultative tour to Chad, Egypt, Zimbabwe and South Africa as Coordinator of the Committee of 10 of the African Union.

Addressing journalists at a presser at the Presidential Lounge at the Lungi International Airport, President Koroma described his five-day trip as “very successful” with his mandate as Coordinator of the C-10 and bilateral relationship with his counterparts.

 

“This trip was in a whole very successful on different fronts, both as President and Chairman of C-10,” he said.

The president further informed journalists that as Chairman of the African Union Committee of 10 tasked with the responsibility to push for two permanent seats with veto powers and five non permanent seats for the continent on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), he had fruitful consultations with the Presidents of Chad, Egypt, Zimbabwe and South Africa who all agreed that they would engage on the next steps in advancing their common interests on the reform of the UN Security Council as was agreed.

He went on to say they have come a long way with consultations and engagements on the African position and there was need to move on to the next step of ensuring that it was achieved.

He said he would be presenting his report at the forthcoming AU Summit in Kigali.

“I am optimistic; very optimistic that the continent will continue to support the Ezulwini Consensus. We don’t expect any dissenting view; everyone is speaking with one voice on this very important issue,” noted the President.

When asked about his fears of any possible challenge amidst his optimism, President Koroma said there were challenges that would come up, especially from the Big Five- nations that were presently “enjoying” the veto power- to easily give in and agree to the African position, but they would however continue with their engagement.

He added that while that could be a possible challenge his ongoing consultations was geared towards bringing an end to the discussion and agree on a position that would send signals of what the continent wanted.

“We need to send out a very strong signal that we need a closure to this. We cannot continue negotiating from 2003 endlessly,” he said.

In his bilateral engagements, President Koroma said he had very fruitful discussions with his Egyptian counterparts who offered several supports to Sierra Leone ranging from capacity building and technical supports to the military, ICT, health and agricultural sectors.

He noted that the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has already offered Sierra Leone a plot of land for the construction of an Embassy in the new administrative district and Sierra Leone was the first country to be offered such an accord by the Egyptian government.

Foreign Ministers of both countries, he explained, would engage further, adding that in South Africa, Jacob Zuma offered his government's supports in areas that would be determined by the foreign ministries of both countries, while congratulating the country and its people for their resilience in the fight against the Ebola epidemic.

President Koroma however did not talk much on any bilateral engagement with President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, stating only that they had a fruitful engagement as he laughed off a question as to whether he shared any of his alleged widely popular quotes on social media with him.

 

The Ezulwini Consensus, adopted in 2005, called for the representation of the African continent at the Security Council by seven members, including two permanent ones with veto power and it is composed of Algeria, Libya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda and Equatorial Guinea.

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