Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Friday 19th June held its maiden Virtual Conference with Sierra Leone’s Heads of Missions (Ambassadors and High Commissioners) from the country’s various Missions abroad at the Minister’s Conference Hall on the fifth Floor of the Ministry at Tower Hill, Freetown.
Welcoming the Ambassadors and High Commissioners on behalf of the Minister, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs. Florence Nyawa Bangalie explained that the purpose of the conference was to update them on the activities of the Ministry and to exchange ideas relating to the fight against the terminal COVID-19 pandemic.
Updating them on the activities of the various Divisions at the Ministry, Mrs. Bangalie said the Administration and Finance Division has ended induction training sessions for Administrative (Cadet) Officers and Press Attaches, the advanced stage for the construction of the Diplomatic Academy in Freetown and the Ministry’s Guest House at Lungi are ongoing, the Ministry she added, had got a VIP fleet for state visitors.
In the America Division, she said a request for assistance has been sent out for Medical personnel and essential medical facilities to the USA, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, C and Canada adding that Argentina, Cuba and Canada have responded with their assistance.
In the Europe Division, she said, an appeal has been made to the Deputy Head of EU delegation to Sierra Leone to prevail on the German Government to open a Consular Section in Freetown for the issuance of Schengen Visas. The processes to repatriate 800 alleged Sierra Leoneans from Germany, she said, is ongoing and that the re-opening of Sierra Leone’s Mission in Paris and the opening of Iceland Embassy in Freetown are also ongoing.
DG Bangalie further stated that the Asia Division has successfully coordinated medical assistance and other essential medical equipment for COVID-19 from other countries. She said, upgrading of the diplomatic ties between Sierra Leone and India is ongoing among other activities.
The Protocol Division, she maintained among other activities, organized a meeting between His Excellency the President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio and the Diplomatic Corps in Sierra Leone.
She further revealed that, Multilateral, Research, Planning and Knowledge Management and Africa Divisions are playing pivotal role in the discharge of their assigned duties.
Giving the keynote statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs. Nabeela Farida Tunis congratulated the Ambassadors, High Commissioners and staff of the Ministry at home and abroad for their enormous individual and collective contributions in ramping up support to assist His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio in the fight to combat the Coronavirus disease in the country.
Their efforts in yielding such significant fruits in the past couple of months Mrs. Tunis said was as a result of teamwork.
She reiterated that since she was appointed by His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio as Minister, she has learnt that organizational success can only be achieved through in-depth consultations, widespread participation and respect for people, established institutions, procedures and rules.
She entreated all to cultivate and inculcate the culture of teamwork and demonstrate unreserved respect for one another as well as the established norms of the Civil Service Code, Rules and Regulations which clearly spells out the lines of communication and reporting structures.
Minister Tunis told Head of Missions that, before the outbreak of COVID-19, her Ministry had set out critical targets among which were the completion of the Sierra Leone’s new Foreign Policy Guide, the Enactment of the Foreign Policy Act by Parliament and the assessment and restructuring of the country’s Consular Posts which is in line with the National Development Agenda.
Mrs. Tunis ascertained that, with the support and inputs from the Ambassadors, High Commissioners and her indefatigable staff, those targets could be achieved in record time.
Minister Nabeela Tunis encouraged the Ambassadors and High Commissioners representing the country abroad to work in the realization of the dream of His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio to make Sierra Leone a prosperous nation through education, trade and investment.
She concluded by craving their individual and collective indulgence to continue the arduous task of identifying Sierra Leone’s comparative advantage in their respective duty stations as well as to explore tangible areas they could exploit to support the growth and development of the nation.
(MFAIC Press Office Freetown)