New ambassador to Sierra Leone named

Liberia has named Macdonald Bowen, 47, as its new ambassador to Sierra Leone, AFP quoted Sierra Leonean national radio as saying on Saturday.

The appointment could signal the beginning of improved relations between the two countries, AFP said. However, an African diplomat told IRIN that despite appearances, relations had been cordial.

Nevertheless, there have been many reports of strains in relations with Sierra Leone accusing Liberia of supporting dissidents trying to topple successive governments in Freetown since 1991. Liberia has always denied its involvement but acknowledged that 3,000 Liberian mercenaries have been fighting with the RUF for their personal gain.