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Sierra Leone Dışişleri Bakanı David J. Francis, AA'ya açıklamalarda bulundu

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Sierra Leone Dışişleri Bakanı David J. Francis, Antalya NEST Kongre Merkezi'nde düzenlenen, Anadolu Ajansının (AA) "Global İletişim Ortağı" olduğu Antalya Diplomasi Forumu 2022 kapsamında AA muhabirine değerlendirmelerde bulundu.

Sierra Leone Dışişleri Bakanı David J. Francis, Antalya NEST Kongre Merkezi'nde düzenlenen, Anadolu Ajansının (AA) "Global İletişim Ortağı" olduğu Antalya Diplomasi Forumu 2022 kapsamında AA muhabirine değerlendirmelerde bulundu.

Africa not being represented in UN Security Council 'historical injustice'

Antalya Diplomacy Forum is a 'huge success,' Sierra Leone's foreign minister tells Anadolu Agency

By Merve Aydogan

ANTALYA, Turkiye - Sierra Leone's foreign minister on Saturday said the fact that Africa is not being represented in the UN Security Council is a "historical injustice."

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, David J. Francis said that the forum has met the expectations by 100% and called it a "huge success."

The three-day high-level event in the resort city of Antalya has brought together participants from 75 countries, including 17 heads of state, 80 government ministers, and 39 representatives of international organizations. Anadolu Agency is the forum's global communications partner.

"The Antalya Diplomacy Forum is a forum for world leaders. You bring world leaders in the political, diplomatic, economic and academic sector to share ideas on how to develop innovative diplomacy to address the problems that we face – from climate change to conflict resolution, to war and peace, and to development issues," he said.

About the panel he attended on recording democracy, Francis said that "now is the time for all the regions of the world to support Africa."

He called on all global actors to "lead the debate for the reform of the United Nations Security Council."

Noting that the UN Security Council has five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members, Francis said that 70% to 75% of all the issues discussed in the governmental body revolve around Africa.

He lamented that no African country is represented in the UN Security Council.

"That is historical injustice," he stressed and added that the African Union "made a determination" on the issue by appointing Sierra Leone as the chair of the African Union Committee to lead talks on reforming the UN Security Council.

"So, at this recording diplomacy forum, I made a call that it is not good to just come and talk. Let us translate our talking into actions," he said.

Francis also cited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's opening remarks at the forum.

Erdogan on Friday reiterated his call to reform UN Security Council and to make it more representative, a cause he has long championed using the motto: "The world is bigger than five."

"He (President Erdogan) alluded to the fact that in the current Ukraine crisis, 141 states voted. But it takes only one to veto action on that," Francis said.

The foreign minister further noted that Sierra Leone has "global ambition to be able to lead and champion the reform of the United Nations Security Council on behalf of Africa."

Relations between Sierra Leone, Turkiye

Francis said that Sierra Leone shares "very long standing and cordial bilateral relations with Turkey."

"The political and diplomatic relations have been friendly. At the bilateral level, we develop trade and commerce investment opportunities between the two countries, but at the political level, and this is important, we've developed a very strong personal political relationship between the two heads of states," he said.

"The first ladies of the two countries also have very close relations," he added.

At the level of the Foreign Ministry, Francis said, he and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu "have developed a very close and strong relationship."

"So, in terms of the political-diplomatic front, we have very credible relationship. Now we've decided to build on the political and diplomatic relationship to develop what we'll call economic and development diplomacy, focusing on trade and investment," he stated.

Describing the Western African country on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean as "the most beautiful country in the world," Francis said that it is the "land of investment opportunities."

The country, which has about 7 million population, is a "very peaceful and progressive country," according to the top diplomat.

"Sierra Leone, according to the International Peace Index, is the fourth most peaceful country in Sub-Saharan Africa. So, you can come to Sierra Leone as it's a tourist destination and lots of foreign nationals come in and they feel secure and at peace and enjoy the ambiance with beautiful beaches across the country. We have about 400 kilometers (249 miles) of beautiful beaches," he said.

Aside from tourism, Francis said: "We have opportunities for trade and investment in the agricultural sector and in the mining sector."

"Sierra Leone has strategic and abundant mineral resources," he said, naming some of them, including diamond, gold, bauxite, and iron ore.?

Stressing that his country "is the place for new opportunities for the mining sector to come in for trade and investment," Francis also drew attention to the "tremendous opportunities whereby the business establishment in Turkey can come and do good, that is helpful to the country, while making profits. So, it's a win-win situation."

Recalling Sierra Leone's aspiration to get a middle-income status in the next 10 to 20 years, Francis said: "We want to learn from Turkey. When you come to Turkey and you travel across Turkey. You see the advancement in infrastructure. I am very impressed with the technological and infrastructural advancements."

He said Turkiye's Karpowership is "providing two-thirds of our electricity generation in Sierra Leone, particularly in the capital," and the SUMMA Group is "currently constructing new airport terminal."

'Middle-income status'

Francis explained that Sierra Leone is no longer defined by the history of war, by the history of Ebola, and rather it is "a resilient, dynamic, enterprising, vibrant country."?

"Before the Ebola epidemic in 2014, Sierra Leone was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with economic growth rate of 21%," he said.

However, "the progress to achieve that stage (of middle-income status)" was affected by the Ebola outbreak in 2014, according to Francis.

Noting that his country's government is focusing on "human capital development," he said: "There are three pillars of human capital: education, health, and agriculture. Today, Sierra Leone spends 22% of our GDP purely on education. In fact, we are in the top five countries in the world that allocate more resources to education."

"With this massive investment in education," he said, some 2.5 million children in the country are receiving free education.

He also noted that Sierra Leone has managed the COVID-19 pandemic "very well."

"The Ebola epidemic created social consciousness for the people to work with the government, and to comply with the social distancing and health hygiene protocols," he said.

Continuing on by saying that the country is now moving into the post-COVID period, Francis said: "Our focus is on strengthening the health system because it is important."

"We will definitely achieve the middle-income status in the next 10 to 20 years. I have no doubt," he added.

Kaynak: AA / Güncel

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