“Never Voted Against America Under Weah” – Lewis Brown -Says “Weah Does Not Understand Diplomacy”

MONROVIA – Amid the allegation levied against him by President George Manneh Weah that the United States of America is annoyed with Liberia because he voted against the country’s interest, Liberia’s former Ambassador to the United Nations, Lewis G. Brown, has categorically denied ever casting a vote against the USA of any kind or manner while serving in the diplomatic capacity under President Weah. Ambassador Brown said President Weah may have made those “ludicrous” allegations because “the President does not understand diplomacy even after spending five years in office”.

Mr. Brown’s rebuttal was in response to what he termed as “the venomous, vile and threatening”  statement made by the President while delivering his sermon at the Forkay Klon Jlaleh Fellowship Center, on Sunday, October 2, 2022, among which President Weah disclosed to his congregation that he had dismissed Brown for embarrassing the country for his decision “to vote against America’s interest”, and for making a derogatory remark against the President’s presidential ambition then in 2011 for being “unqualified” to lead the country.

But speaking during an interview on an online television media outlet, Spoon TV, Brown who in his initial reaction said that he was disappointed in the president for such an ‘attack, noted however that he was not surprised because that was a reflection of President Weah’s overall dismal performance in his leadership of the country.

“By the performance of the President which he even highlighted today shows how he was never a leader and is not a leader. For the President to use the pulpit of the Church of the living God he serves to spew lies from the high office of the President; I feel the President is scared, I think the President feels he is going to be a one term President, I think the president understands he will lose in 2023.

“He is claiming that I am nobody and that is why he is trying to mischaracterize me as such and maybe it is part of our politics when people have nothing substantive to discuss and decide to waste everybody’s time”, Brown asserted.

He said his only sin committed against Weah was to endorse Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, Standard Bearer of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), whom he said was far better and qualified than President Weah “to take us out of the difficulty the Liberian people find themselves”. He said the situation in the country is worsening by the day and the President is “absolutely clueless about how to address the problems but instead runs after the opposition to suppress them.

Responding to the main question of the day if at all he ever voted against the interest of America, the tough-talking former diplomat set the premise that at the United Nations, individual ambassadors do not cast ballots on their own but do so on strict instructions from their home government on how to vote. He said for the case referenced from the President, it was not even under the leadership of President Weah that he did cast a vote but under the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and it has to do with the issue of supporting the United States of America to make Jerusalem the capital city of the state of Israel.

“If you listened to President Weah, you would assume that the Foreign Ministry under him instructed me to vote and I voted contrary which was not true; unfortunately, it shows how President Weah does not understand the way the Foreign Ministry works even after five years of leadership of our country.

“By the way, the president is the chief architect of our foreign policy and it is unfortunate that he does not have an idea of how it is done.

“No Ambassador, let alone the Ambassador to the United Nations will vote contrary to the instruction of their home government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Point number one, the President lied, or let us say he does not understand diplomacy and that is why we have to offload this heavy weight from my friend George Weah’s head. After five years, he does not understand how government works”, he said.

He said the common thing at the UN when votes are to be cast is for individual ambassadors to consult their home countries for advice and those interested in getting votes from countries will have to wait until the home governments give advice before further lobbying can continue.

“So, no ambassador will vote for themselves. Every ambassador will laugh at President Weah today. Things do not work like that”, he said.

He reiterated that at no time in the seven months he served as Liberia’s Ambassador to the UN under President Weah did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instruct him to vote on a particular issue let alone to vote contrary, adding that the only vote he can remember getting involved with was that of the one that called for the transfer of capital of the state of Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Liberia voted against.

“Perhaps the vote he was referring to was the vote on transferring the capital city of Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“So, it went to the UN Security Council and of course the United States was supporting the decision and I believe it was decisively defeated at the Security Council.

“It came to the UN General Assembly and my duty was to inform my government about the nature of the vote to be taken through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, he said.

Mr. Brown who had earlier served as Minister of Foreign Affairs under the government of former President Charles G. Taylor said that what President Weah did not know and understand was that earlier that year, the African leaders met at a Summit in Addis Ababa where Liberia was represented by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and reaffirmed the earlier decision of the AU on what they referred to as “two state solution”.

He said the two-state solution, according to the leaders, is that Israel and Palestine will exist side by side as two states with recognized borders and that Jerusalem, because of its holy historicity, will not be a capital for any one side.

“And, therefore, in recognition of the two-state solution in the Middle East, the AU at no less than the Heads of State Summit, resolved that Jerusalem should not be the capital of Israel, that Tel Aviv must remain and that both must have access to Jerusalem. That was the resolution of the AU.

“Incidentally, I was in Monrovia at the time and someone who deputized for me, actually followed the instruction provided from Monrovia while I was in Monrovia and voted as was instructed. Now that does not exclude my duty because I would have also voted according to the instruction.

“And to suggest that the US government will be annoyed with me because of my singular vote on the instruction of my country is just ludicrous,” Brown stated laughingly.

When asked whether he had properly briefed Madam Sirleaf at the time on the implications of the vote which was against the US interest as a traditional friend, Brown said one thing he appreciated Madam Sirleaf was that she was very thorough with every decision she took because she read every communication brought before her “unlike Weah who does not have the temperament or latitude to understand how things work.

He said Liberia would have been on the wrong side of history if she had voted against the decision of the AU because the issue was overwhelmingly defeated from the results which was 128 in favor of Jerusalem not being changed to the capital of Israel, a negligible 9 votes against and 35 countries in abstention.

During the course of the very interactive show which was followed by an amazing number of views that even, a quotation from the former Ambassador was displayed on the screen and read: “We did vote against the US. We cannot vote against the US. Liberia and the US are deeply bonded by history and cherished ties of ongoing friendship and partnership. We voted for the shared values of peace, international law, multilateralism and consistent with the decision of the AU which was advised by the Heads of State in January of this year.”

He maintained that he does not think the US government had anything against the decision of Liberia because if so, they would have raised the issue with Madam Sirleaf.  He added that Madam Sirleaf had on key occasions provided reasons why the government took the decisions.

On other matters, he denied ever supporting the presidential ambition of Mr. Weah and admitted making the statement the President accused him of uttering that he was not qualified to lead the country. He said that the statement was made in a friend’s office as far back as 2011 and he still stands by it today. He also added it would have even been a contradiction for him to support Weah after saying earlier that he was not qualified to lead the country.

 He also said that no time he and former Finance Minister Amara Konneh met anywhere to solicit support for Weah with EU leaders or any other leaders of the world, adding that the few meetings he and Amara held in the United States were purely private and he saw no reason why he would disclose them.

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