Sierra Leone’s Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has said the Bio Administration hopes to work with the new leadership in Liberia to revamp the moribund sub regional group, Mano River Union (MRU).
Vice President Jalloh is in Monrovia at the head of a high powered delegation for a visit he described as a “courtesy and solidarity gesture” intended to congratulate Joseph Boakai, following his inauguration as Liberia’s 26th President.
Boakai was inaugurated on Monday, January 22, following his victory in the November 14 run-off elections against former President George Weah.
According to the Executive Mansion, the office of the Liberian presidency, Boakai received Vice President Jalloh at his Rehab Residence in Monrovia on Monday morning. The Sierra Leonean delegation also attended the first-ever State of the Nation Address of the new Liberian president before the Joint Session of the 55th Legislature in the Capitol Building in Monrovia.
Jalloh reportedly told the Liberian press following his meeting with Boakai that his visit was a follow-up to President Julius Maada Bio’s visit in Monrovia as part of the inauguration of the new president.
“Besides, I brought special greetings and best wishes from President Maada Bio and the people of Sierra Leone,” he was quoted.
Jalloh also spoke about Sierra Leone’s desire to work with the new Liberian leader to strengthen and protect border communities and expand trade between the two countries.
“I was particularly pleased when he (Boakai) acknowledged the historical connection between our two sister countries, and his commitment to strengthening bilateral relations,” Jalloh said in a post on X, about his engagement with the Liberian leader.
“Sierra Leone stands firmly with the government and people of Liberia,” he added.
Liberia and Sierra Leone are the two least developed among the four-member nation MRU, behind Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea.
Sierra Leone and Liberia were the most devastated by their respective civil wars which began in Liberia in 1989, before spilling over to the Sierra Leone.
The Liberian civil war ended in 2002, a year before the guns went silent across the border in Sierra Leone.
The MRU, which seeks to enhance cooperation between the four countries, was initially established by Sierra Leone and Liberia in 1973. They were later joined by Guinea and, over 30 years later in 2008, by Cote d’Ivoire.
Lack of adequate funding has rendered the organisation largely ineffective.