By John Baimba Sesay, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, Beijing, China
The Executive Vice President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries has called for stronger collaboration between his association and Sierra Leone, through the Embassy of Sierra Leone in the People’s Republic of China.
Speaking on Monday, May 7 during a courtesy call on him by Ambassador Abu Bakarr Multi Kamara, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Vice President Feng Zuoku stated that there is the stronger desire on his part for both Sierra Leone and his association to continue working “so as to promote people-to-people as well as diplomatic ties between the two countries.”
Speaking further, the Vice President said the ties between Sierra Leone and China are very strong and that since the establishment of the Sierra Leone-China Friendship over forty years ago, a number of Presidents and Ministers of Government from Sierra Leone have visited China.
Vice President Feng Zuoku further spoke of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s visit to China in 2009 when he was in opposition and referred to him as “our good friend.” With the support of the Sierra Leone Embassy, he said, the Sierra Leone-China Friendship, which is in line with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, will be strengthened.
Speaking on the establishment of twin sister cities between Freetown and two cities in China, namely Hefei and Ganzhou, the Vice President said, although there had not been enough exchanges, to promote local governance cooperation, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries will be organizing a forum for African Mayors, Local Government Ministers and Government Leaders in August this year and that the invitation to Government Ministers and leaders will be within the framework of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation. He used the occasion to officially extend an invitation to the Mayor of the Freetown Municipality.
Through this forum in August Vice President Feng Zuoku expressed hope to see more sister cities established and pragmatic actions taken that would make the Africa-China Friendship more broad and comprehensive. He congratulated Ambassador Multi-Kamara on his appointment to the People’s Republic of China and expressed hope that the Ambassador will play an important role in terms of strengthening the ties between Sierra Leone and China.
Making his remarks, His Excellency Ambassador Abu Bakarr Multi-Kamara conveyed greetings and felicitations from President Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone to the people of China. He informed Vice President Feng Zuoku that President Ernest Bai Koroma is conscious about the diplomatic and people-to-people relations between Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China and as such, Sierra Leone is even more determined to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and “in that we will want to reaffirm our solidarity not just in the context of the one-China policy but towards your commitment to international peace and peaceful co-existence.”
Speaking further, Ambassador Abu Bakarr Multi-Kamara also highlighted the importance that China’s economic and technical cooperation as well as her people-to-people cooperation has been to Africa and especially Sierra Leone. As Ambassador, he said, he was anxious to know how both countries can strengthen the already existing cooperation, especially the one between the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and Sierra Leone.
His Excellency Abu Bakarr Multi-Kamara also paid special tribute to Sierra Leone for her role in facilitating the entrance of China into not just the United Nations but also the UN Security Council.
“We are proud to have played an important role in making China enter the UN Security Council at a time when most countries would not know how China will be today,” said Ambassador Abu Bakarr Multi-Kamara.
“Sierra Leone, under President Ernest Bai Koroma,” the Ambassador said, “is making strides for development and consolidation of peace and through the Agenda for Change, China has been playing a major role in Sierra Leone’s development as you have a special role in that direction and my appointment is a deliberate one in terms of strengthening the important ties from the viewpoint of state-to-state and people-to-people….”
He also extended, on behalf of Sierra Leone, appreciation to the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries for inviting the Mayor of Freetown to be part of the forum in August and promised to do a follow-up on that. The Ambassador also expressed optimism that his visit will not be the last one as he “is interested in being involved in your activities.”
The courtesy call was climaxed by the exchange of gifts by both Ambassador Abu Bakarr Multi-Kamara and Vice President Feng Zuoku.