Republic of Sierra Leone Joint Communique Working and Friendly Visit to the Republic of Sierra Leone of His Excellency Professor Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea 10th February, 2015 [press release]

Within the framework of the Mano River Union, His Excellency Professor Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea and, in his capacity as Chair of the Mano River Union (MRU), paid a one-day working visit to the Republic of Sierra Leone on Tuesday 10th February, 2015.

The purpose of the visit was for the two Heads of State to engage in an exchange of views on progress made and remaining challenges with respect to the unprecedented outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that has engulfed the three MRU member states and, to reflect on the national and sub-regional dimensions of post-Ebola recovery programmes.

The two Heads of State shared concerns and experiences on the scope and magnitude of the spread and impact of the Ebola outbreak on the social, economic, cultural and traditional norms and practices of their respective societies. They also discussed ways of cooperating and collaborating at all levels with a view to containing and eradicating the Ebola Virus Disease in the Mano River Union basin and, to pave the way for robust transitional as well as medium to long term socio-economic and cultural recovery programmes in the three affected countries.

Dilating on the need to strengthen security and stability on their porous borders, the leaders agreed to develop ger synergies among the local authorities and communities along the borders in order to complement the efforts of the central government authorities.

They reflected on the longstanding and deep fraternal and family ties between the two countries and, the level of cooperation nurtured over the centuries. They pledged to deepen those historical and cultural linkages on a renewed dimension, given the kinship and ethnic commonalities existing between the two countries. The two leaders commended each other on their respective efforts to stem the Ebola menace. They thanked the international community for the support rendered to the three most affected countries in these difficult moments of the scourge and further appealed to them to scale up activities to achieve zero infection and, subsequently, eradicate the scourge in the region.

They both noted, at this point in time, the urgent need to continue their campaigns against those cultural and traditional practices that have significantly sustained the spread of the infection.

The two Heads of State described the continued stigmatization of their nationals and consequently, the imposition of travel restrictions and suspension of flight services to the affected countries. They considered these as a distraction to the collective efforts in fighting the epidemic. They also reiterated the need for those countries imposing travel and other restrictions to review their policies.

His Excellency President Alpha Conde expressed solidarity and empathy with the Government and people of Sierra Leone in these difficult moments and acknowledged, with deep appreciation, the unrelenting efforts and commitment of his Brother and Friend, President Ernest Bai Koroma, towards containing the spread of the Ebola menace, which has begun to show significant signs of decline. He reiterated his determination and commitment, both in his personal capacity and as Chairman of the MRU to collaborate with the Republics of Sierra Leone and Liberia to defeat the scourge and pave the way for these countries to regain their pre-Ebola development strides.

His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma on a reciprocal gesture, commended the leadership of His Excellency President Professor Alpha Conde, for his charismatic and g leadership, as the Ebola infection rates are also receding in the sister Republic of Guinea. President Koroma agreed with his Brother and Colleague on the need to mobilize adequate financial and logistical support in order to bring the Ebola scourge to an end.

He re-echoed the appeal of his Brother and Colleague to the international community to continue to give the much needed support to the three Ebola affected countries, including budgetary support, debt cancellation, and the building of resilient Public Health Systems.

Finally, the two Heads of State extended their heartfelt condolences to all those families that have lost their loved ones in the Ebola menace.

His Excellency President Professor Alpha Conde extended his deepest appreciation to his Brother and Friend, His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma, for the characteristic warm and generous Sierra Leonean hospitality accorded to him and his entourage.

The two Heads of State agreed to convene an Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State of the Mano River Union in Conakry, Republic of Guinea as soon as possible.

H.E DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

H.E.PROFESSOR ALPHA CONDE

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA

10TH FEBRUARY, 2015

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Source : Government of Sierra Leone

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