Presidents Sirleaf and Atta Mills in Accra at the weekend
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia on Saturday saluted Ghanaians for their contributions in resolving the Liberian civil war, and expressed gratitude to Ghanaian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the restoration of peace in that country.
"When Liberia was in turmoil, going after each other, you were able to help us find our way to stop the destruction; you died for us, prayed for us, advocated for us and worked for us," President Sirleaf said, as she laid a wreath at Burma Camp in Accra in honour of the Ghanaian soldiers who died during peace-keeping in Liberia.
She also commended former President Jerry John Rawlings for the strong leadership he exhibited to bring the turmoil Liberia in civil war under control, saying her country remained grateful.
The Liberian President, who departed Ghana on Saturday, also commended President John Evans Atta Mills for Ghana's continued support for Liberia after where his predecessors left off.
She said that the hearts of Liberians remained with Ghanaians, adding, "We thank you, and we want you to know that Liberia remains grateful to you, for your sacrifice and contributions. God will continue to bless all of you.”
The Liberian leader praised other West African nations for their role in bringing peace to Liberia and prayed for the good repose of the souls of the departed men and women.
Liberia, for 14 years, was engulfed in a bloody civil war that claimed many lives.
Former President Rawlings, then Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) played a pivotal rule in the peace process in Liberia coupled with the fact that Ghanaian soldiers helped to maintain peace in Liberia.
Former President J. A. Kufuor also took central role in peace mediation efforts in Liberia, and Ghana's Volta River Authority assisted in restoring electricity to Liberia that had been in darkness for 14 years.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Sirleaf, has left Accra after the two-day state visit during which she expressed Liberia’s preparedness to partner Ghanaian investors to explore trade opportunities.
A joint communiqué on the visit, signed by Ghana's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni and his Liberian counterpart, Olubanke King-Akerele, described the outcome of the visit as very successful.
In the 19-point communiqué, read to journalists at the Kotoka International Airport by Alhaji Mumuni before President Sirleaf’s departure, the two Presidents agreed that cooperation in the areas of trade, industry, investment, agriculture and security, could be further deepened.
Consequently, Presidents Mills and Sirleaf directed their Ministers of Foreign Affairs to take measures to reactivate the Ghana-Liberia Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation, and to convene the next session not later than the end of July 2010.
It said the two leaders appreciated the holding of the Ghana-Liberia Investment and Trade Forum during the State visit under the theme, "Investment Attraction and Job Creation for Economic Empowerment," and urged the business communities in both countries to promote meaningful investment and private sector participation in the region's economic development.
Among other things, it said the two leaders discussed political and socio-economic developments in West Africa, particularly the global economic and financial crisis, and called for more collaboration among stakeholders in addressing the economic challenges confronting the continent.
The communiqué said the two Presidents emphasised the need for countries in the West Africa sub-region to forge stronger linkages by promoting more vigorous and vibrant inter-state trade and economic activities, and to further advance regional integration, trade and investment in the spirit of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) treaties and protocols.
In addition, they acknowledged the need to entrench democracy, good governance, the rule of law and the respect for human rights.
With respect to the political situation in Guinea, the two leaders called on all stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement, signed on January 15, 2010, and stressed on the importance of free and fair elections, leading to a peaceful transition and the return to constitutional rule in that country.
The communiqué said President Mills commended President Sirleaf for her mediatory role in Niger, adding that the two Presidents expressed grave concern at the latest developments in that country and reaffirmed their backing for the principled positions taken by the ECOWAS and the African Union.
They also reiterated their appreciation and commendation for the sustained role of ECOWAS under the dedicated leadership of the its outgoing President, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas in the search for peace, security and socio-economic development in the West Africa sub-region.
In that regard, the two leaders, reaffrimed their commitment to harnessing their energies for the effective implementation of agreed programmes and projects in order to deepen the integration process of ECOWAS.
On the forthcoming elections in Togo, the communiqué noted that Presidents Mills and Sirleaf appealed to all stakeholders to take measures to ensure transparent and credible elections.