In line with the country’s National Development Agenda, three countries,the United Arab Emirate (UAE) Ice Land and India were to open embassies in Freetown Sierra Leone.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nabeela Farida Tunis on the 22nd of May, 2020 while updating Hon. Members of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Main Conference Hall, Tower Hill, Freetown.
In her welcome address, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Florence N. Bangalie thanked the Committee Members for saving time to meet with the Ministry especially at these trying times.
The Director General highlighted the functions of the various Directorates in the ministry.
The Outgoing Deputy Director General-Policy, Sahr E. Johnny informed the Committee that, on the directives of the Minister, he coordinated the donation of about 2,717 metric tons of rice from Japan which arrived on Monday 25th May, 2020.
In his comprehensive update, the Incoming Deputy Director General-Policy, Unisa Sahid Kamara informed the Committee of the Ministry’s invaluable role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the Ministry is still coordinating donations of medical assistance and equipment. The donated items, according to him are being transmitted to the Ministry of Health and the EOC.
Updating the Committee Members on the Ministry’s activities, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nabeela Farida Tunis disclosed that, the opening of embassies in Freetown by UAE, Morocco and Iceland is at an advanced stage, but the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the process.
Minister Tunis informed Hon. Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of her recent activities she and her team embarked on which included and not limited to: the preliminary work on the construction of the country’s Diplomatic Academy; the development of the nation’s Foreign Service Act which according to her is now with Cabinet and the establishment of Sierra Leone’s Missions in Morocco and France.
With regard to the COVID-19 response, Mrs. Tunis said that her Ministry continues to facilitate the mobilization of medical facilities to enhance the national response against the COVID-19 in Sierra Leone.
She revealed to the Committee that her Ministry in collaboration with other Ministries have secured the services of Cuban Doctors stating that, the experts are scheduled to arrive in the country shortly to join the Ministry of Health and the EOC.
In another development, Minister Tunis informed the Hon. Members of the Committee that she has been in consultation with other countries including the State of Kuwait for the repatriation of Sierra Leoneans.
She maintained that the Ministry in collaboration with the country’s Missions abroad are working assiduously to ensure thorough screening of the verified nationals prior to repatriation.
The Minister delightfully informed the gathering that her Ministry has developed a Protocol Handbook which will be distributed to MDAs.
Mrs. Tunis confirmed that all former Career Diplomats she engaged with have consented to aid in moving the Ministry forward, especially in the training of newly recruited Administrative Officers.
In his contribution at the meeting, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Foreign Affair, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo thanked the Minister and her team for pursuing a comprehensive Foreign Policy objective that is in line with the National Development Agenda.
He further acknowledged with appreciation the brilliant presentations made by the respective directors of the Ministry.
He assured the Minister on behalf of the Committee Members their unflinching commitment and collaboration for effective Foreign Service delivery on the country.
The Deputy Director General- operations, Duwai Lungay in his vote of thanks acknowledged the MPs for their supports in the development of the Ministry.