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Former House Speaker George Dweh has refuted claims by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia that he had, on behalf of the Government of Liberia, initiated bilateral discussions with the Government of Taiwan to establish diplomatic relations.
Mr. Dewh, an executive member of the disbanded rebels Movement for Democracy in Liberia or MODEL, clarified in an exclusive interview with this paper on Thursday, 24 November at his residence overlooking the Mesurado River in St. Paul Bridge community, Bushrod Island that the letter from the Taiwanese Trade Mission to the Government of Liberia did not originate from him as insinuated by the Foreign Ministry here.
According to him, the Taiwanese are seeking trade link with Liberia and not diplomatic relations, adding that being a former speaker, he was approached by the Taiwanese Trade Mission in Abuja, Nigeria to follow up its letter written in July 2016 to the late Minister of State Dr. Edward McClain, expressing desire to establish trade mission with the Government of Liberia after the country was admitted into the World Trade Organization or WTO.
He said the letter in question was allegedly written by the head of the Taiwanese Mission in Abuja Mr. Morgan Chao and forwarded to Monrovia thru the Liberian Ambassador to Abuja Dr. Al-hassanConteh.
Dweh read out loud a letter purported to have been written by Mr. Chao requesting him to follow up their letter which had been at the Foreign Ministry since July, while showing DHL envelops as evidence of his exchanges.
He did not deny writing any letter to the Taiwanese, when asked but said he could not confirmed or denied which particular letter the government is referring to. Because, according to him he has had several exchanges with the Taiwanese.
Mr. Dewh said he is fully cognizant that no one individual has the authority to initiate or establish diplomatic relations between two countries except thru government-to-government discussions with the direct involvement of the President.
He said it was unthinkable for someone to think as educated as he is to write a letter to the Taiwanese introducing himself as President Sirleaf’s special envoy. However, the ex-rebel executive recalled that he was personally instrumental in having Mainland China returned to Liberia thru his interactions with the Chinese in Ghana during the Accra Peace Accord, so he could not be the one to be opting for diplomatic ties with Taiwan while the Chinese are here.
In a press release issued Wednesday, November 23, the Government of Liberia said, ‘Mr. Dewh is a former government official, who in no way is or has been an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nor has he had any official relation with the Ministry or is an envoy of the President of Liberia.’
The release continued, ‘The Government wishes to make it clear that Mr. Dweh has never, at any time, held meetings with any official of the Ministry on any matter relating to the Republic of Taiwan.
The Government of Liberia takes this matter very seriously and, because of the gravity, has alerted the relevant security agencies to investigate the matter so as to avert a diplomatic faus pas with the friendly Government of the People’s Republic of China as well as to determine his motivation for this dubious overture.’
Mr. Dweh disclosed that he had been invited by the Ministry of State to discuss the letter, but argued he was not properly addressed as former Speaker of the House of Representatives, rather as ‘Mr. George Dweh’, adding that until such correction is made in the letter, he would not honor it.