A five-person delegation from Southern Sudan arrived in Monrovia on Thursday, May 26, to deliver a “special invitation” to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from Sudanese leader Salva Kiir, to attend the first Independence Anniversary Celebration of Southern Sudan from the North on July 9th.
On hand to receive the delegation was the Chairperson of the Cabinet and Minister of Justice, Cllr. Christiana Tah who, in the absence of President Johnson Sirleaf from the country, is coordinating the affairs of government in consultation with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr.
Minister Tah commended the delegation for inviting Liberia to Southern Sudan’s Independence Celebration, and said the Liberian people were always pleased when the positive role Liberia played in lending support to most African countries during their liberation struggles from neo-colonialism is acknowledged honestly and truthfully.
She observed that Southern Sudan, which is gaining its independence from the North of the country following a referendum held there in January, and Liberia have some things in common. These included the 25-year brutal civil war fought in Sudan and the 14-year conflict that raged in Liberia.
Moreover, both countries were endowed with natural resources that, if managed properly, could be transformed from raw materials into finished products, with good benefits to their people. The Justice Minister also stressed the need for Liberia and Southern Sudan to further concretize their relations through bilateral arrangements, enabling them to cooperate through trade and commerce.
Speaking earlier, the head of the delegation, Health Minister Dr. Luka Tombekana Monoja, said the people of Southern Sudan were keen to see President Sirleaf attend the occasion, because they see the Liberian leader as President and Mother of all Africans, especially the people of Southern Sudan.
Another member of the delegation, James Bol Telar, Director in the Office of the President Salva Kiir, urged the people of Liberia and his own country to realize that peace is far better than war, and added that his country cherishes Liberia for the positive role it continues to play on the African continent. Those positive contributions were aspects in which his country could share and continue in solidarity.
Mr. Bol Telar informed the gathering that he had spent many years living in Liberia, getting an education and working during the period when President Sirleaf was Minister of Finance. He said he is married to a Liberian woman from Lofa County, and has many children.
Other members of the Southern Sudanese delegation were: Grace Imme J. Datiro, State Minister of Foreign Affairs; Hanafi James Killa, Acting Director of Protocol, Ministry of Regional Cooperation; and Madam Charity Obaa Edward, spouse of the Minister.
Also representing Liberia at the ceremony were: Dr. Edward B. McClain, Jr., Minister of State for Presidential Affairs/Chief of Staff; Dr. Mohammed Sheriff, Ambassador-at-Large; and other government officials.