During a vote at the United Nations Security Council on the Gaza conflict, some diplomats voted against a new resolution calling for an “urgent cessation of hostilities.” This went against Liberia’s official stance.
In a statement released late Tuesday, the Liberian Ministry of Information declared that its diplomats voted without George Weah’s approval, emphasizing that “as president, he has the final say on foreign policy.”
The identities of these diplomats have not yet been disclosed. Observers suggest that Liberia’s permanent representative was absent when the country voted against a Gaza ceasefire, making it the only African state to adopt such a position.
This decision drew sharp criticism from the Liberian populace, which holds a strong attachment to the rights of the Palestinian people. Under intense scrutiny, George Weah had to address the General Assembly to nullify the initial vote and request a new one, this time in favor of the ceasefire.
“There is currently a gap between the president, diplomats, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” explains Ibrahim Al-Bakri Nyei, a political analyst. He further notes on these internal dissensions, “Most diplomats act without respecting the directives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The president is widely criticized throughout the country for letting this situation unfold and for only reacting after the vote.”
George Weah’s intervention at the UN is also motivated by his desire to maintain a positive image in the eyes of Liberians, avoiding being perceived as a president who condones the suffering of the Palestinians, particularly as he prepares to leave office on January 22.
In response, Liberia’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, Sarah Safyn Fyneah, stated in a Wednesday evening release that Liberian diplomats acted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and denied exceeding governmental authority.