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General News Wed, 18 Apr 2001

President Kufuor addresses media in first 100 days

President Agyekum Kufuor has promised Ghanaians that his government would not use the military to intimidate the citizenry as had been the case in the most recent past.

President said at his first press conference at the Osu Castle, the seat of government, to commemorate his first 100 days in office. This was also the first time in about 20 years a Ghanaian head of state was meeting the press.

The military will remain professional and help in the defence of the state to ensure stability, free movement of people and goods to promote the economy. "The recent discussions on FM stations and the media (if only they have not overdone it) attest to this," he said.

The President speaking for just about 8 minutes explained that, his travels within the west coast was to build bridges with the neighbouring states and consolidate the existing friendhip in the sub region. President kufuor said he would soon visit Cote d'Ivoire to continue his tour of neighbouring countries.

He said he had learned from his earlier travels ones to Togo and Burkina Faso that Ghana's portion of the connecting roads is the worst, which does not augur well for trade between these countries.

Kufuor called for an open debate on prices, and incomes which he described as very low, saying "let's sit back, let's be realistic."

Asked about relations between the present and the former government, President Kufuor said that they had not reneged on his promises to treat the former President Rawlings and his ministers of state with respect as he would wish to be treated when he leaves office so far as they keep within the law.

He however said "they should not throw their weight about. They should keep within the law. The NPP (New Patriotic Party) want to continue within the law."

On education, he reiterated that he would soon appoint presidential commissions to see what could be done about improving conditions in the universities and to close the yawning gap that has been created since the universities were set up and now. University of Ghana, Legon, would be used as a pilot project.

He admitted that the controversial HIPC Initiative was adopted without enough public debate because there wasn't enough time considering the budget and impending debt reprieve in the very month of April.

Source: africast