By Moses A. Kargbo
Egypt’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was on a working visit to Sierra Leone last week, has voiced his country’s commitment to enhancing Sierra Leone’s economy with support to the fisheries and agricultural sectors.
Ambassador Hisham Badr told Concord Times in an exclusive interview that he was in the country to register Egypt’s unwavering support to Sierra Leone’s development efforts, and to further strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relations.
“I’m here with a message from my minister to the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, Dr. Samura Kamara, as a follow-up on his visit to Cairo in February this year,” noted Ambassador Badr, stressing that Egypt attaches great importance to its bilateral ties with Sierra Leone. “We have kept our diplomatic mission here since 1961 and have always stood by Sierra Leone at all times, even during the country’s civil war.”
Mr. Badr disclosed that a team of experts in the fisheries and agriculture sectors from Egypt will be in Sierra Leone this month to render technical assistance in the two sectors, and that Egypt was also working to provide technical and professional support to Sierra Leone’s health sector.
“Egypt is also committed to help restructure Sierra Leone’s Foreign Ministry. We’ll offer training courses to Sierra Leonean Diplomats at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Cairo. Egypt will also establish a technical and vocational center that will provide professional training to personnel in the various sectors,” he said.
The Egyptian Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister expressed gratitude to President Ernest Bai Koroma for his government’s implementation of the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ which, according to him, was responsible for the current “social and economic development in Sierra Leone”. He said his country was particularly appreciative of the leadership of President Koroma on the Committee of 10 (C-10) of the UN Security Council.
“Sierra Leone’s leadership on the C-10 continues to preserve the African common position, that is, Africa should speak with one voice. We are grateful for this,” Ambassador Badr stated.
On the current situation in Egypt, Mr. Badr said the country has adopted a new constitution which, according to him, “will accomplish all basic rights and allows for the establishment of a modern democratic state”.
He said presidential election was set to be conducted on May 26 “in a free and transparent manner”, and that foreign observers – including the United States and European Union among others – would be invited to monitor the exercise.
The results of the election, he added, will be announced in the first week of June with parliamentary election following.