– As Foreign Minister Kemayah Secures Hungary’s Support for Liberia’s UN Security Council Bid
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet of the Republic of Liberia, H. E. Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., will rather return triumphantly home this weekend from Budapest, Hungary, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Hungary to award one hundred (100) scholarships to deserving Liberian students.
During a press stakeout at the end of a four-day official visit in Budapest, Hungary, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, H.E. Mr. Péter Szijjártó, informed the media about the successes of the visit.
According to a dispatch from Hungary, the MOU offers twenty (20 )undergraduate degrees (bachelor’s) for Liberian students in any field of interest, sixty (60) graduate degrees (master’s), and offers twenty (20) doctoral degrees (PhDs) in any field of interest over a period of four years.
The MOU, which is expected to run for four academic calendar years, begins this academic year 2023, and 25 Liberian students will benefit in the above-mentioned three categories, such as 5 bachelor’s degrees, 15 Masters, and 5 doctoral degrees (PhDs), annually.
The Hungary Foreign Minister accepted to increase the duration of the scholarship up to 2026 since the present MOU expires at the end of this year, in 2023. The Hungarian Foreign Minister said they considering increasing the number of beneficiaries based on the strong bilateral tie subsisting between the two countries, which they described as an all-time high.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister and Szijjártó, have agreed to establish a joint economic commission that seeks to improve education, health, diplomacy, agriculture, trade, commerce, infrastructure, security, the blue economy, energy, information technology, water resource management, waste management, and the empowerment of women and youth, which will ultimately lead to expanded economic cooperation and partnership between the two peoples and countries.
Minister Kemayah and Minister Szijjártó, in separate statements, said they were delighted with the fruitful discussions and action points reached, which, they said, are aimed at the realization of a bilateral framework agreement for the establishment of the Liberia-Hungary Joint Commission in different areas such as education, health, diplomacy, agriculture, trade, investment, commerce, infrastructure, security, the blue economy, energy, information technology, water management, and women and youth empowerment for a more expanded economic cooperation and partnership.
Considering that diplomacy is about reciprocity, Minister Kemayah invited Minister Szijjártó, which he accepted to come to pay a similar official visit on July 26, 2023, and both men agreed that during which time a bilateral agreement establishing the joint Economic Commission will be signed.
According to a dispatch from Budapest, the two ministers expressed delight for signing the Additional Protocol regarding the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia on cooperation within the framework of the Stipendium Hungaricum Program for the years 2021-2023, as well as the establishment of the Liberia-Hungary Business Council.
Minister Kemayah delightfully said: “We wish to further extol with satisfaction the Government and People of Hungary for the commitment and fruitful discussions held towards fast-tracking the necessary modalities and the implementation of the Government of Hungary Tied Aid Program with the Government of the Republic of Liberia in the fields of energy, information technology, water management, women’s and youth empowerment”.
Foreign Minister Kemayah reiterated to Foreign Minister Szijjártó Liberia’s bid for a non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council for the Period – 2026/2027 and requested the support and vote of the Government of Hungary for elections scheduled to be held in June 2025 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The Liberian top diplomat further informed the Hungarian Foreign Minister of Liberia’s decision to contest for category A membership on the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and also requested the support and vote of the Government of Hungary. In response, Foreign Minister Szijjártó expressed thanks and appreciation to Foreign Minister Kemayah and the Government of Liberia for the recent support and vote for the government of Hungary. “I assured you my dear friend that the Government of Hungary will support and vote in favor of Liberia to be a non-permanent member of the United Nations Council and category A member on the Council of the IMO”.
The Liberian Foreign Minister said although the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Liberia and Hungary are relatively young and in their honeymoon period, the age and timing of their relations don’t matter.
“What matters most is the quality of the relations—the value, cooperation, and friendship we deeply share and enjoy.”
The Liberian Minister said he had personally gone to Hungary to enrich those values and further strengthen the bond of friendship and solidarity so as to make Liberia and Hungary’s bilateral ties mutually beneficial and inclusive for their governments and peoples.
“Let me stress without reservation that we feel very much at home in Hungary as we do in Liberia, and we wish to once again express our heartfelt gratitude for the very warm reception accorded my delegation and me.” “This reception signifies the warm bilateral ties and friendship of the government and people of Hungary towards the government and people of Liberia,” Minister Kemayah said.
The Liberian Foreign Minister described the capital of Hungary, Budapest, as a beautiful and historic city, which, according to him, he and his delegation enjoyed at the kind invitation of his friend and brother, His Excellency Mr. Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, as he conveyed special greetings and warm felicitations on behalf of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, and the Government and People of Liberia, and in his own name to Her Excellency Madam Katalin Novák, President of Hungary.
According to the dispatch, the Republic of Liberia and Hungary share common interests and beliefs in the tenets of democracy and respect for human rights, peace, harmony, and security in the international community; support for international development; and uncompromising commitment and unconditional respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Member States of the United Nations, as well as maintaining and promoting global inclusivity, peaceful coexistence, and stability, consistent with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Minister Kemayah thanked the government and people of Hungary for the strong developmental support given to Liberia over the years, a dispatch said. “Your assistance to our country, aimed at the manpower development of our people, will long go down as one of the most viable forms of support, geared at helping us out of dependency and into self-sufficiency. It must be emphasized that an educated nation makes sane decisions, leading to development and modernization. We are therefore grateful for the scholarships awarded to young Liberians to study at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels in various fields of academic disciplines and interests in Hungary,” he said.
In relation to the development of sustainable economic cooperation between the two countries, the ministers discussed closer collaboration on the ocean economy.
As the Republic of Liberia is a member of the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone and Hungary is a member of the North Atlantic Cooperation, Minister Kemayah said they share similar core foreign policy objectives, which recognize the ‘Blue Economy’ as an inclusive economic frontier to ensure continued support for livelihoods, particularly food security for our growing populations, and the conduct of global commerce for both present and future generations.
It can be recalled the two Foreign Ministers Kemayah and Foreign Minister Szijjártó, signed an MOU that consummates a commitment the Hungarian government made last year to increase the number of Hungarian scholarships from 10 to 25 annually.