Diplomatic Faux Pas Over MRU SG Handover -As Guinea Objects, Handover Postponed Indefinitely

MONROVIA – The scheduled handover ceremony from the outgoing Secretary General of the Mano River Union (MRU) to the new Secretary General has reportedly hit a snag when the ceremony which was expected to have taken place yesterday, November 7, 2022 could not be held due to Guinea expressing reservation over a breach in protocol, thus leading Guinea to postponed the handover ceremony indefinitely.

According to diplomatic sources, the postponement of the handover ceremony was predicated on the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea, a member country of the MRU, to a later date until Guinea, which chairs the regional body, is properly involved.

It can be recalled that President George Manneh Weah of Liberia had on September 7, 2022 appointed Mrs. Maria G. Harrison as Secretary General, replacing Ambassador Medina Wesseh, but the transition had not taken place, triggering speculations from media institutions that Ambassador Wesseh whose tenure had expired was allegedly refusing to hand over the position.

The speculations from the media catapulted the Government of Liberia into action as if to suggest that Ambassador Wesseh was recalcitrant in turning over to the newly appointed MRU Secretary General.

Inside sources close to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning disclosed that the Ministry had issued a directive, instructing Ambassador Wesseh to hand over to her successor by October 15, 2022; but when the directive did not materialize, incoming Secretary General Harrison was dispatched to Freetown, Sierra Leone, a move that suggested she was mandated to hold talks with the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure the hand over.

“There are protocols and procedures which guide such a turning over ceremony and all countries must be guided by such, and this calls for consultation with the chair who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea,” a diplomatic source informed this paper.

Observers are of the belief that for Guinea to stop the handover ceremony from taking place due to the alleged diplomatic faux pas only validates the submission and views of the outgoing Secretary General Ambassador Wesseh, and poses a serious diplomatic embarrassment against Liberia, a situation that would have been averted if the Government of Liberia had simply consulted with the incumbent and be guided by the standing protocols, than having the turning over ceremony postponed, thus sending some serious political undertones.

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