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General News Sun, 11 Aug 2013

Ghana applies to join Gulf of Guinea Commission

Ghana has made a formal application to join the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) as a full member state. President John Dramani Mahama put in the application in a meeting of Heads of States of the Gulf of Guinea Commission in Malabo, Equitorial Guinea.

The Commission was established in 2001 but has not been very effective until 2012 when the original eight founding member states met in Luanda, Angola to reactive the objectives of the Commission.

Ghana has always attended meetings of the Commission including the June 2013 summit on Maritime Security as an Observer.

President Mahama told colleagues in a closed door session of the Commission's meeting that Ghana wants to be a full member and is very committed to sharing information and experience with a view to maintaining security along the Gulf.

He recognised the invitation to Ghana to attend previous meetings of the Commission, acknowledging that it has widened the country's perspective on the security situation in the gulf region.

President Mahama charged his colleagues to intensify collaboration to effectively respond to threats along the gulf, explaining that the consequences of inaction can be dire on the economies of the various countries and on the lives of the people.

"Piracy, drug trafficking, unreported and unregulated fishing, marine pollution, armed robbery of ships and disputes over maritime boundaries are real threats, and Your Excellences, we need concerted efforts to effectively address them", President Mahama noted.

Ghana, he noted, has begun the retooling and restructuring of its marine-related agencies including the provision of new ships for the navy, surveillance aircraft for the air force, a new marine police unit among others.

He attributed the arrest two weeks ago of a ship suspected of collaborating with pirates in the waters of some African countries to the revamping and resourcing of the country's agencies.

President Mahama was accompanied to the summit by the Minister for Defence Mark Woyongo and the Interior Minister, Kwesi Ahwoi.

President John Mahama has arrived home from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where he attended the Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State of the Gulf of Guinea Commission.

Mr. Mahama who returned on Saturday made a formal application for Ghana to join the Commission, explaining that Ghana and the other members of the Commission stand to gain a lot from information sharing and resource mobilisation to maintain security along the Gulf region.

While in Malabo, President Mahama also led a team from the Ghana National Gas Company, a state-owned company, to visit Equatorial Guinea's Punta Europa Gas Complex in Malabo.

The Complex is made up of Equatorial Guinea LNG, which is produces Liquefied Natural Gas, Marathon EG Production Limited, which provides EG LNG and another company called AMPCO with gas feedstock and also feeds Turbo Gas for local power generation, and Atlantic Methanol Production Company LLC (AMPCO) one of the world's largest and lowest cost methanol producers.

Source: Flagstaff House Communication Bureau