Harbel, Margibi County: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has welcomed Heads of State and distinguished guests in a special manner at the opening of the 51st Session of the Summit of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government. She also welcomed the Vice President of the European Union, who is also attending a meeting of the Authority for the first time as well as the UN Secretary General Special Representative for West Africa/Sahel. She acknowledged the presence of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel for the visit to the summit.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the welcome remarks at the opening ceremony of the 51st Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government. She said although the African Union and the United Nations are always represented at meetings of the Authority, she said we must nevertheless give them special recognition because of the complementarity, which exists between our organizations.
She said the people of Liberia are honored by their presence and noted that since the convening of the 16th Summit of the Organization of African Unity in 1979, Liberia has not hosted a Summit of this magnitude. She said this meeting marked a turning point in the post conflict recovery and reconstruction.
President Sirleaf said “This meeting hold a special meaning for us for another reason; We can recall today the pivotal role of ECOWAS in the restoration of peace following the protracted civil crisis in Liberia.” She said many ECOWAS citizens made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives for the uninterrupted peace, which Liberians continue to enjoy.
She said: “Today, our organization continues its mission of promoting peace even as it faces challenges linked to the spread of terrorism. Terrorist attacks are engendering instability in a number of our member states, and we know that terrorism constitutes a growing threat for all of us. The most recent manifestation of this menace was the attack perpetrated against the people of Niger resulting in the loss of lives. We must work in concert across borders and oceans to end this threat.”
President Sirleaf enjoined the Heads of State and Heads of Delegations to rise and join her for a moment of silence to the memory of all of the innocent souls and gallant citizens of ECOWAS whose lives were shortened brutally by conflict and terrorism. She called for a moment of (SILENCE) and prayed that their souls rest in perfect peace.
She then welcomed all of Heads of State and Heads of Delegations again and wished them a perfect stay in Liberia – however short their stay.