Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China have embarked on efforts aimed at further strengthening not just people-to-people and government-to-government diplomacy, but to also strengthen the political diplomacy between the two countries.
This was made possible, with Ambassador Abu Bakarr Multi-Kamara recently paying a courtesy call on the Director-General of the Bureau of African Affairs International Department of the Central Committee Communist Party of China, Cao Baijun. This courtesy call by Ambassador Multi-Kamara is among series of courtesy calls aimed at familiarizing himself with government officials and other stakeholders in the People’s Republic of China.
Speaking on Wednesday, 9th May, Ambassador Abubakarr Multi-Kamara conveyed heartfelt felicitations from the people and government of Sierra Leone to President Hu Jintao, the people and government of the People’s Republic of China. Ambassador Multi-Kamara informed the Director-General that having had the opportunity of meeting several people, including officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, he was certain, that his stay in China as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador will be fruitful and interactive.
Ambassador Multi-Kamara emphasized, that the relationship between Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China predates the diplomatic ties and that he was specifically proud that Sierra Leone played a contributing role in ensuring China’s entrance into not just the United Nations but also the UN Security Council.
Ambassador Multi-Kamara also stated, that President Koroma, being the Chairman and Leader of the ruling party in Sierra Leone, the All People’s Congress, “he is determined to strengthen diplomatic ties, as well as people-to-people diplomacy and above all ties at the political party level between the two countries.”
Speaking further on the political level, Ambassador Multi-Kamara said, since the CPC was founded, it has continued to work to the expectation of its membership and that he was “proud to say that the APC almost shares similar characters, being a grass root party”
He also informed the Director-General about the formation of the Asia Branch of the All People’s Congress party with Headquarters in Beijing, “with the principal aim of strengthening exchange between the two parties” and he promised to work closely with the Bureau of African Affairs International Department of the Central Committee Communist Party in China so as to further strengthen the political ties between the two countries.
At the diplomatic front, Ambassador Multi-Kamara said, he is very pleased with China’s role in Sierra Leone’s development and that, “in our Agenda for Change, the Chinese government is playing a significant role in its implementation and the impact has been great across the growth, human development, communication and medical sectors.”
He assured that his appointment will help restore the confidence between the two countries and at the same time ensure, the bars of cooperation are lifted and also reaffirmed Sierra Leone’s fundamental commitment to the one-China policy “and to work with China at all times”
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Bureau of African Affairs International Department of the Central Committee Communist Party of China, Cao Baijun on behalf of the Bureau welcomed Ambassador Multi-Kamara to China and promised to convey greetings from President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone to President Hu Jintao of China.
He assured Ambassador Multi-Kamara of their support to him, saying “I want to assure you that we will remain open to you and will do our best to facilitate your work here in Beijing.
On the CPC’s relationship with the All Peoples Congress in Sierra Leone, Cao Baijun said, the CPC maintains a relationship with the All People’s Congress in Sierra Leone and as such “we would want to further such relationship”. He called for action to strengthen collaboration with the Sierra Leone Embassy on the issue. He explained, that the CPC holds consultation with counterpart parties in African on major issues and that, they have also been having exchange programmes.
Cao Baijun also explained that his department serves as an important think-tank for the party saying, “we have a small but strong team and we are one of the busiest bureaus in Beijing.”
The CPC, he went on, has a member of over 80 million people and that foreign relations constitutes an important part and acts as a major pillar of the China’s policy. Speaking further, Cao Baijun spoke of China’s appreciation for Sierra Leone’s support to the ‘one-China’ policy.
A working Banquet to the joy of Ambassador Multi-Kamara and team and the presentation of gift by Ambassador Multi-Kamara climaxed the discussions. Ambassador Multi-Kamara was accompanied by Paul Minah, Head of Chancery and the Press Attaché, John Baimba Sesay.
Diplomatic ties between Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China have been marked by a number of high profile exchange visits between the two countries. In 1978, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Ji Pengfei visited Sierra Leone. Also in 1984, Vice Premier Tian Jiyun visited Sierra Leone, among other high profile visits.
On the Sierra Leone side, President Siaka Stevens, founding father of Sino-Sierra Leone relations, visited China in 1973, two years following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Also, President Ernest Bai Koroma, who is also Leader of the ruling party in Sierra Leone, has visited China twice, in three years of becoming President.
There had also been other high profile visits by past Presidents of Sierra Leone to China.