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Marah returns with good news for Salone

Marah returns with good news for Salone

Counselor and Head of the Commonwealth Desk at the Sierra Leone High Commission in the United Kingdom, returned back in London early this week after a successful trip in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo: Josephine Marah with Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner Edward Turay during the presentation of credentials in Sweden recently)

Josephine Marah had travelled to Geneva last week to work on the modalities for the establishment of a Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva, a unique opportunity which the Commonwealth Secretariat is providing for its Small States.

Marah had formally put forward on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone a proposal for an office space be allocated to the government and should this be approved Sierra Leone will be given priority since we have already viewed the office area and have confirmed our interest formally to the Commonwealth Secretary-General.

The Diplomat had earlier met with the Commonwealth Officer, Anuja De Silva, who is the Charge d’Affairs at the Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva, who confirmed that due to the very high demand for the limited spaces offered by the Secretariat, there wasa none available at the moment.

However, De Silva has already advised the Commonwealth Secretariat to acquire more office space on the top floor of the same building so as to accommodate the high volume of requests from other Commonwealth Small States along with Sierra Leone.

The Diplomat also met with with Danielle Werthmuller, Head of Privileges and Immunities Section at the Swiss Permanent Mission in Geneva on 17 March, since Sierra Leone will be dealing with that office for the establishment of Diplomatic Presence in Geneva.

Werthmuller advised that Sierra Leone can benefit from the provision made to Least Developed Countries (LDC)’s by the Swiss Government by accrediting the same representative in both Geneva and Berne, with residence in Geneva.

What was more interesting was the fact that the Swiss Government will provide the full rental subsidy for Sierra Leone.

“We toured the Commonwealth Small States Office and I was able to view all the facilities provided and (adequate) size of the rooms already allocated to countries,” said Josephine.

The facility consists of a conference room fitted with video conferencing facilities, a business center, meeting rooms, other modern facilities such as the Internet and electricity are all provided by the Commonwealth free of charge. Telephone and fax services will be underwritten by each Mission.

In addition, Small States will also have access to in-house technical expertise in the areas of trade and human rights at no extra cost. A general insurance for the office space will be provided by the Commonwealth but each Mission will have to obtain personal insurance for its own property.

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