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General News Sun, 10 Feb 2002

Blair Says Visit Successful

British Prime Minister Tony Blair left on Saturday for Sierra Leone, saying his three-day stay in Ghana was successful.

"It is a successful and remarkable visit that I can't forget," Prime Minister Blair told journalists as he walked towards the aircraft of the British national carrier, British Airways to depart.

Mr Blair said he was particularly impressed about the dedication and commitment shown by the Ghanaian government to improve the life of its people.

He was seen off by a government delegation led by Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama.

A joint statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British High Commission, said the visit, which was a follow-up to discussions held between President John Agyekum Kufuor and Prime Minister Blair in Chequers, last September, provided an opportunity to emphasise British support for those African governments committed to good governance, respect for human rights and economic reform.

During the visit, the two leaders reviewed their bilateral relations and reaffirmed their shared commitment and determination to develop stronger partnerships for the mutual benefit of their two countries and peoples, as well as to contribute to international peace, security and development.

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"President Kufuor and Prime Minister Blair also deliberated on a variety of regional and international issues including the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the importance of concerted international action to fight terrorism and the continued relevance of the Commonwealth in enhancing economic advancement of its members particularly the smaller ones."

After Prime Minister Blair left, President Kufuor left Accra for Dakar, Senegal, to attend a meeting of selected African heads of state to discuss the way forward for the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

The meeting held on Saturday was attended by the Heads of state of Algeria, Benin, Senegal, Niger, La Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon and Ghana with observers from the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States, West African Monetary Union and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who accompanied President Kufuor, told reporters that the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair would participate in the meeting.

He said issues to be discussed would include the financing of NEPAD and sub-regional integration.

Other members of the delegation were Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Economic Planning and Regional Integration and officials of the Private Enterprises Foundation (PEF).

Source: GNA
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