December 8, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Lebanese Ambassador to Sierra Leone has pleaded with the government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, to consider opening an embassy in Lebanon, which according to him was long overdue.
Speaking at an event to mark the 72nd independence anniversary of Lebanon’s independence, Ambassador Nidal Yehya also urged the appointment of a resident ambassador in Beirut to help strengthen the rich ties between the two countries.
He assured that in his capacity as Ambassador of Lebanon in Sierra Leone, together with the Lebanese government, they are willing and ready to ensure the success of the proposal.
He said: “Who knows, Sierra Leone might be experiencing great loss on several levels throughout the period of the appointment of a honorary consul instead of a resident ambassador.”
He recalled that in 2014, they were unable to organise the independence ceremony because of the Ebola epidemic, but praised the hard work and struggle of President Ernest Bai Koroma and his team throughout the ordeal to mitigate the damage, contain the epidemic, increase awareness among the people, and in bringing help from the International community to end the scourge.
According to him, Sierra Leone recorded a growth rate of 14% according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report before the Ebola epidemic, but stressed that the loss was immense on the economy and the people as a result of the deadly scourge.
“All of us, especially the Lebanese community will work to restore the economy. In the midst of the Ebola epidemic, the Lebanese community continued investing and re-invested into the economy of Sierra Leone and contributed lots of donations. Lebanon is a sister state to Sierra Leone and shares the strongest tie for a number of historical reasons,” he said.
With regards the situation in Lebanon, the envoy stated that his country is currently suffering from the huge number of displaced Syrians on its land, whose number exceeds 1.7 million, added to 400,000 Palestinian refugees.
He said Lebanon’s economy was badly affected due to the influx of refugees on its lands, which is more than half the population of Lebanon, and which records the highest percentage of refugee rate in any country.
“At present, Lebanon is also suffering from the terrorist organisations on its border with Syria and the recent terrorist attack in the south suburb of Beirut, with deep sympathy for the victims of the massacre, which leads the Lebanese Army to always stand firm against them. We also condemn the attack of the terrorist group on Paris, Mali and previously on Nigeria,” he said.