General News of Fri, 6 Apr 201812

Hypocrites promoting anti-American sentiments - Akufo-Addo

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has explained that sending the Ghana-US defence cooperation agreement for Parliamentary ratification was aimed at promoting transparency.

In a televised address on Thursday night, President Akufo-Addo questioned, "how else would we, the people of Ghana, have ever known that, for several decades, Ghana has had defence and security co-operation collaborations with the United States of America?

"How else would we have known that, in some instances, we have provided them with facilities for the movement of personnel and equipment to help some of our neighbours who were facing security and health challenges? "

"And how else would we have exposed the unspeakable hypocrisy of the fraternity of some frontline politicians, who make a habit of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, who secretly wallow in the largesse of the United States of America, whilst, at the same time, promote anti-American sentiments to a populist constituency? Submitting this Agreement to open scrutiny now allows us to clear the unhealthy fog that has clouded our relations with the United States of America," President Akufo-Addo stated in his first public comment on the issue.

Ghana-US pact

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On March 23, 2018, Parliament ratified an agreement between the governments of Ghana and the USA on defence cooperation, the status of US forces, access to and use of agreed facilities and areas in Ghana.

The object of the agreement is to set forth a framework for enhanced partnership and security cooperation between the US and Ghana, with the aim of strengthening the defence relationship further.

It is also to address shared security challenges in the region while clouding those related to the protection of government personnel and facilities.



Protests

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Since the defence cooperation became public, it has generated disagreements between the government and the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The NDC members said the agreement, which offered unimpeded access to and use of facilities to US forces, undermined the sovereignty of Ghana and would expose the country to danger.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, hundreds of Ghanaians led by the "Ghana First Movement" took to the streets in Accra to register their dissatisfaction with the pact.

The protestors, clad mostly in red and black attire, with red bands around their necks, wrists and heads, called on the government to withdraw the defence agreement which they considered inimical to the national interest.

They carried placards, some of which read: “Build factories, not military base”, “Why would we betray Ghana for money?”, “Ghana is bigger than $20 million”, “Insensitive government, bad deal, our lives are in danger” and “Military base attracts terrorist attacks”

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Addressing the nation on the issue on Thursday night, President Akufo-Addo said government deemed it prudent to continue an already existing defence cooperation with the US considering the realities of circumstances and challenges to peace in the West African region.

"It is our firm belief that the Agreement will help enhance our defence capability, and offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region," the President added.



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