Liberian Foreign Minister Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has held a fruitful bilateral meeting with his Italian Counterpart, H.E. Luigi Di Maio, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Italy, on the margin of the 3rd edition of the Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference, Encounters with Africa, convened in the eternal City of Rome, Italy.
Speaking during the meeting, the Italian Foreign Minister welcomed Minister Kemayah and delegation to Italy andexpressed great delight for the participation of Liberia and looks forward to a more inclusive and mutually advantageous growth and prosperity based on shared vision and common interests.
He recounted the fond memory of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, as alegend, who still remains popular in Italy even years after he departed the country.
Minister Di Maio indicated that Italy stands by Liberia and deeply committed for real energy and ecological transition to Blue Economic growth and prosperity, focusing human capital development, infrastructure construction, and the creation of synergies for a vibrant private sector towards job opportunities and improved livelihoods for particularly women and youth in Liberia.
“I seize this historic moment to extend you invitation to pay an official visit for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in order to intensify the already cordial friendship subsisting between our two countries and peoples,” Minister Di Maio said.
Responding to the warm reception from his Italian Counterpart, Foreign Minister Kemayah extended profound thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of the Italian Republic for the invitation, warm hospitality and logistical support put to the disposal of the Liberian Delegation with no cost to the Government of Liberia, and called for more bilateral engagements to further strengthen and deepen the long-standing ties subsisting between their two countries and peoples.
“The government under President Dr. George Manneh Weah is open for business to Italian companies and investors. President Weah is keen on the creation of job opportunities for Liberians, especially the youth, who account for more than 60% of the country’s population”, Minister Kemayah noted.
Meanwhile, the Italian Foreign Minister appointed Ambassador Giuseppe Mistretta, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, while Foreign Minister Kemayah appointed Madam Famatta Morris Manu, Deputy Head of Mission at the Liberian Embassy near Rome as Focal Points towards the development of a roadmap to facilitate state visits by Heads of State of the two countries.
To this end, Liberia-Italy bilateral relationship dates far back to 1862 when the Republic of Italy recognized the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Liberia. In 1863, the two countries signed a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation in London, and later in 1952, consummated a statement on commercial relations, and in 1957 established full-scale diplomatic relations at Ambassadorial level.
The support of the Italian government to Liberia proved remarkable, when in 2014, Italy donated over Fifty Million Euros ( £ 50, 000) to Liberia’s fight against Ebola, dispatched a mobile laboratory team to the MSF Treatment Centre in Foya, Lofa County, deployed a team of four medical experts in Liberia, headed by Dr. Antonino Dicaro, the Director of the Microbiology Laboratory, and Infectious Disease Biorepository, provided food supply and other medical aid, and also donated homeopathic Ebola treatment drugs through Dr. Alessandra Manini of the International Emergency Management Organization.