Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Contemporary Issues: Nat Barnes Speaks On Liberian Diplomacy

…Says Liberia Is Confident Amongst Nations

Nathaniel Barnes had just served Liberia at the United Nations since the inception of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration of the Unity Party. The Liberian diplomat is an opposition figure – the founder and standard bearer of the New Destiny Party during the 2005 Legislative and Presidential Election of Liberia. Mr. Barnes have just been recalled from New York and resigned at the Washington Diplomatic posting of Liberia. Not yet confirmed, Nat Barnes is presently in Monrovia awaiting Senate confirmation before he can take his post as the Ambassador of the Republic of Liberia accredited to Washington. The NEW VISION’s Bill Jarkloh caught up with the Liberia diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign affairs during with chat the Ambassador explores Liberian diplomacy.

Saying that he is proud to be part of the team of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration, the ambassador-designate said, “What we are experiencing is a result of the ugly past relating to what we did to ourselves.” Ambassador Barnes told this journalist, “Things have to go worse before they can get better.” The Liberian Ambassador who has just ended his tenure of duty at the United Nations in New York as Liberian’s Representative to the General Assembly was addressing the decried high cost of Living in Liberia.
Ambassador Barnes indicate, “The ruling party has a difficult challenge to rebuild Liberia from its spoils” of the fratricidal war, saying, “It is easy to destroy but it is hard to recover from the destruction.”
According to him, the President and her Unity Party members alone cannot rebuild the country. Barnes said the President has graciously employed the use of some opposition parties’ members.
Saying things will get worse before they get better, the one time Minister of Finance said that the bettering of this country depends on hard work and a predictable environment which he noted require security and the rule of law.

Ambassador Nathaniel Milton Barnes - Ambassador-designate of the Republic of Liberia to Washing D. C.: Liberian approaches diplomacy with confidence

“If we as are people are suffering, let us suffer; let us equally bear the suffering. But things will gat better, and it depends on hard work and a predictable environment,” the founding father of the opposition Destiny Party avowed, indicating that It requires a secured terrain; we have a fragile system in terms of law. Investors want security and rule of law to ensure viable economic activities.”

Achievements of Barnes

He said it is on the basis that he accepted to serve in the Ellen-led administration of the Unity Party and then went ahead to respond to the question regarding his achievements as an opposition figure in the administration since his appointed in the Liberian diplomacy.
Ambassador Barnes then cataloged his achievements while he was Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Nations. “We certainly played a role while we were at the UN, the ambassador said, indicating, “Liberia has serious image problem within the global community, but we helped in a serious way to change the negative perceptions the international community harbored against Liberia within two years.” He noted that today, Liberia is perceived as a global leader of women’s rights and a human right leader.
“The area we ensure tour international partners see Liberia’s image positive is the matter of small arms and light weapons. The issue of relaxing the sanctions on Liberia too is another area,” Ambassador Barnes disclosed.
He said he was instrumental in securing scholarships for students that are leaving to study abroad and also mentioned negotiation for some 50 Cuban medical doctors expected to come to Liberia as part of his efforts while at the UN.”

Confidence characterize Liberia diplomacy

Ambassador Barnes also spoke on the Liberia- United States relations, which he considered very encouraging. He noted that there’s a lot of goodwill for Liberia to the international community, especially in the United States
The Liberian ambassador-designate to the United States who said he considered himself as an agent of change firstly discussed the Liberia-United States diplomacy. Ambassador Barnes explained that in America, there is a lot of goodwill not with the Government alone but in the social system. He mentioned such groups as “Friends of Liberia” and “Know Liberia” amongst others social groups who are all engaged in making the case of Liberia to the people of the United States, the congress and the U. S. administration.

Ambassador Milton Nathaniel Barnes presents his letter of credence to Unted Nations Secretary General (former), Kofi Annan

Former Finance Minister Barnes pointed out that with him at the United Nations, he too was busy with confidence in changing perception about Liberia, noting that that such diplomacy has succeeded with the articulate foreign policy of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration at home.
Quizzed what is responsible for the successes being scored now in the Liberia-United States diplomacy, he replied, “We are approaching the U. S. with confidence, with more confidence. We demand our respect. Our government is self-most assured.
During her campaign debate for the Presidency of Liberia, it can be recalled that Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf foretold her foreign policy. She said at the time that she would approach the American not with subservience, but with mutual respect. Madam Sirleaf noted that in international diplomacy, all countries are equally, and that she would not accept from America any thing that would humiliate her leadership if she was elected President. “I will ensure that the United States, as our traditional partners, respect us, treat us with mutual dignity and respect because in any case we will always need each other,” Madam Sirleaf promised at the Centennial Pavilion where there was a debate of presidential candidates before the 2005 elections.
She promised that Liberia would opened her hand to all nations of the world without being dragged into one partner deciding the friends of Liberia in international diplomacy.
True to this promise, the Sirleaf administration has opened her hands to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) which many thought would make the Americans to turn their back to Liberia. This administration is also friendly diplomatically with Cuba and Libya and strongly enjoys the confidence of the United States of America.
“Our foreign policy is opened in this new dispensation. As you may see, Liberia established diplomatic ties with both China [meaning PRC) and the United States. Both countries are adding value Liberia. Both know that we have critical economic and development needs and they are all on board in addressing these needs. They are truly Liberia’s good partners,” Ambassador Barnes explored the diplomacy of the Ellen administration.
With the self-assured confidence that have characterized Liberian diplomacy in the global community, Barns who is a product of the JJ Roberts Elementary School and went to the College of West Africa before traveling to the United States for further advanced education saw his tenure at the United Nations as Liberia’s Ambassador as a personal growth that afforded him top contribute in the changing of Liberia’s gloomy and obscured image to a more positive one.
Barnes sees his new assignment as Ambassador of Liberia to Washington as a challenge. He said the United States is the oldest and most important ally of Liberia, and promised to the foundation built by his predecessors to a new level that would take advantage and exploit the goodwill of America.

United States’ interest in Liberia

On what could be the United States’ new interest in Liberia after Liberia’s abandonment by this so-called traditional friend of the first republic on the Dark Continent that was ‘established’ by freed American slaves, Ambassador Barnes retorted ands said “one of the highest interest of America in this dispensation of Liberia is the political will by this administration to join the global fight against terrorism.”
“Liberia has philosophically and indeed agreed to move against terrorism. And the fight against terrorism is a prevailing factor and component of American interest around the world,” Ambassador Barnes explained.
Besides, Ambassador Barnes pointed to Liberia’s
True to this explanation by Ambassador Barnes, the Ellen-Sirleaf administration has been crusading against terrorism and rebellion within the subregion and the global community. Ellen several times spoke against terrorisms, and urged leaders of the Mano River Union during her last visit to Sierra Leone that none of them should allow their country to be used as a stepping stone for rebellion against a sisterly country.
She has been in the vanguard of global peace tranquility and democracy which has been the catalyst of the United States domestic and foreign policy. Ellen the other day bashed at Zimbabwe’s Robert Mogabe’s victory when she told the African Union that the June 27th election of Zimbabwe lacked acceptable AU standards.
The Liberian leader’s reminder of the African leaders during the 13th Ordinary Session of the July 1st , 2008 Summit’s in Egypt that that the Zimbabwe elections lacked democratic standards acceptable to the AU was a similar position she took against Zimbabwe when she addressed the Pan African parliament and the Security Council of the UN.
Ambassador Barnes observed that Liberia is now perceived globally, unlike before, as the leader of women’s right and generally human rights leadership as well as its fight against corruption, which, he said constitutes reasons for U. S. to development interest in a country which was polarized with corruption, violation of the fundamental rights of the people and plundering of the national resources.
According to Mr. Barnes, Liberia’s positive positions on global trends especially on the fight against terrorism, the upholding of democratic tenets and human rights have brought her to reclaim the diplomatic interest of not only the United States but other countries of the world.

No comments: