GovernanceNews

State Department may reject unconfirmed Liberian ambassador to Washington, DC

Washington, DC – Sources close to the U.S. State Department say it would be unlikely for the newly appointed Liberian ambassador to the United States to be taken seriously, especially considering that his commissioning faces stiff legislative opposition from some in the Liberian legislature.

Unconfirmed Liberian ambassador to Washington, H.E George Patten, Sr.

Liberian President George Manneh Weah appointed and subsequently commissioned Ambassador-designate George S.W. Patten, Sr, as the Liberian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America, Canada and Mexico.

Ambassador-designate Patten Sr. replaces veteran Liberian diplomat and learned lawyer Ambassador Lois Brutus who was recalled pre-maturely by the Liberian government.

The Liberian government is modeled on that of the United States with three equal and distinct branches of government.  Similarly, when cabinet officials and ambassadors are appointed, they must meet Senate approval, but the current Liberian ambassador has failed that litmus test before taking up his diplomatically assignment in Washington, D.C. hurriedly.

Although the Liberian government admitted that such happening was an unusual error, the ambassador is yet to face the Liberian Senate for confirmation. Meanwhile, he took up his assignment and performing duties as the Liberian ambassador without due process.

President George Weah received Letters of Credence from the new and confirmed Lebanese Ambassador to Liberia, Henri Kastoun at his Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Monrovia, a release from the Executive Mansion has said.

A source on Capitol Hill who spoke on condition of anonymity from the senate foreign relations committee said either the Liberian government is a caricature, or it lacks experience policy minds. He said the U.S. would not take such diplomat seriously in any form, shape or manner.

In its press release, the Liberian government said Ambassador-designate George S.W. Patten before his new appointment previously served as Liberia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and worked as Chargé d’Affaire at Liberia’s Permanent Mission to the UN.

According to a Foreign Ministry release issued on Monday, the commissioning ceremony took place on Saturday, December 29, 2018.

President Weah encouraged Ambassador-designate Patten to represent Liberia’s best interest at his new assignment. President Weah also advised Ambassador Patten to be mindful of the special relationship subsisting between Liberia and the United States of America.

In a letter addressed to the U.S. ambassador to Liberia, a Liberian lawmaker and vocal critic of the Liberian administration under President Weah, Honorable Kolubah Yekeh, urged the United States government to reject the appointment of Ambassador Patten, Sr.

Lawmaker Yekeh letters to the U.S government

The United States is a critical nation where African severe and other developing countries would prefer an experienced, talented, well-educated, seasoned and innovative individuals as ambassadors. One of Liberia’s foreign severe service’s problems is the lack of competent diplomats in places like London, Washington, DC, Paris, Brussels, and Germany.  According to observers, the most effective Liberian missions over the past few years have been Lagos and Brussels. 

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.

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