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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, President Koroma Receives Italian Foreign Minister
By Sheka Tarawalie
Feb 12, 2009, 17:30
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President Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday received at State House the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister, Franco Frattinni, who heads a delegation touring African countries of interest to Italy.

After exchanging courtesies, the main thrust of the meeting was held behind closed doors, but much of it dwelt on strengthening relations between the two countries, especially the Italian governments desire to ensure that the Bumbuna Hydro project is completed.

Italy has been one of Sierra Leones foremost western supporters. The Italian government participated in the financing of both ECOMOG and UNAMSIL and also the World Bank Programme for disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation of ex-combatants. In the framework of the enhanced HIPC initiative, Italy took the major step of cancelling 100% of Sierra Leones debt corresponding to a total of 57.4 million Euros.

In December 2008, the Italian Government donated 20 containers of Aviculture meat (chicken), while the Italian Foreign Ministry donated food aid (rice) of an estimated value of 1.5% million Euros.

The Italians have a very strong presence in the Northern Province through the Catholic Church and Non Governmental organisations.

The visiting Minister was led in audience by Sierra Leones Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vandi Minah. He also met Vice President Sam Sumana at his Tower Hill office.

The team will visit Makeni and Bumbuna tomorrow before returning home. They have already visited Angola and Nigeria.


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