Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 February 2021:
President Dr Julius Maada Bio has today concluded his two-day working visit to Conakry, Guinea where he and his Guinean counterpart signed an agreement to re-open the land border that has been closed since early last year.
The communique states that: “Based on mutual reassurances and enhanced mutual confidence, the President of the Republic of Guinea Professor Alpha Conde has reviewed the security situation in his country and has agreed to reopen its borders with the Republic of Sierra Leone, effective from Thursday 18 February 2021 at 8:00 hours GMT”.
“The two leaders also agreed to reactivate the Joint Technical Committee on Yenga, which shall commence sittings in Nongowa, on 3 March 2021. They also agreed to implement the agreement to Joint Border Patrols along the common border areas from 5 March 2021,” the document reads, adding that the two foreign ministers will immediately restart the holding of the Joint Commission of Cooperation meetings between the two countries.
The communique also contains a raft of bilateral agreements to cooperate with each other on security, defence, public health, ICT, mining, justice, transport, private investments, and cultural exchanges.
The Heads of State further pledged to use their good offices to provide the necessary capacity to address the current and emerging public health emergency, such as COVID-19 and Ebola in the two countries.
“The two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction with the strategies by the two countries in the COVID-19 pandemic and reaffirmed their determination to coordinate their efforts in obtaining vaccines for their respective populations,” says the communique.
At the sub regional level, President Bio and President Conde welcomed the latest decision for the return of Mali to constitutional order, in accordance with the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and reiterated their continental commitment to always defend the African interest.
“They also welcomed the decision of the African Union Heads of State and Government for launching the first operational stage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement…and commended the implementation of the 2063 agenda and other reforms initiated at the African Union,” the communique adds.
President Bio, whose government delegation also included deputy leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress in Parliament, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo and former APC Minister of Public Affairs, Information and later Mines, Alhaji Alpha Sahid Bakar Kanu, will return to Freetown today, Tuesday 16 February 2021.