Two outgoing Ambassadors of Egypt and France, Mohammed Mustapha Haida and Francois Pujolas, respectively, bade President Akufo-Addo farewell yesterday.
This was when they called on him at the Jubilee House at the end of their duty tour of the country.
The ambassadors, could, however, not hide their delight for the time spent in the country, especially the Ghanaian’s exclusive sense of hospitality.
Mustapha Haida, the Egyptian diplomat, expressed grief for leaving the beautiful country he had lived in for the past four years though he said he felt satisfied about the work he had done in the country.
“I must say that Ghana was very kind to me and to my family and to my colleagues; I will certainly miss its good people, its sense of humour and its hospitality”, he stressed.
He dilated on the long-standing relationship between the two countries, which were bound by history, the excellent political relations between them, the bilateral cooperation, human resources and capacity building.
Apart from that, he indicated “both of us are working on many fronts in unfinished protocols and MoUs; we are working to defend the African agenda and I am sure that this cooperation will be more intensified when we assume our chairmanship of the Africa Union starting from January 2019.”
Egypt is counting on Ghana to help push its priorities in the Africa Union in the areas of peace and security, promoting regional-continental integration and reforms on the continent.
Ambassador Haida considered Ghana as a country ‘very dear’ to the heart of all Egyptians due to the model it presents for democratic transformation, President Akufo-Addo’s socio-economic vision which is a source of admiration and respect, adding that “Ghana is developing positively and the economic indicators are remarkable.”
He expressed gratitude to the government and people of Ghana for the warm reception during his stay in the country.
Responding, President Akufo-Addo described the day as a sad one for him due to the passing of the former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who was a great son of Ghana and Africa, last week in Switzerland as well as the departure of the Egyptian envoy whom he described as a good friend of the country.
He indicated that “anybody who came into contact with you, whether officially or not, knew about the strong feelings you had for Ghana and your determination to serve as a link to promote even stronger relations between our two countries which dates back in history and the marriage between Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah and the Egyptian lady, Fathia.”
The president also acknowledged the increasing number of Egyptian companies in the country which he described as significant.
He pledged Ghana’s unflinching support to Egypt during its tenure as chair of the Africa Union while looking forward to stronger ties with the country.
President Akufo-Addo, however, charged Ambassador Haida to serve as advocate anywhere he finds himself.
The president indicated Ghana’s preparedness to support regional and international efforts in addressing human trafficking, cross-border crimes, drugs and terrorism, when the French Ambassador, Francois Pujolas, earlier called on him.
While commending the French government for its continuous support and investments in the security of the region, he said such investments would facilitate Ghana’s response to security threats in the country and the region.
He said Ghana and France had a strong and enduring relationship and noted that the French government had supported Ghana in the areas of education, agriculture, health, among other sectors of the Ghanaian economy.
President Akufo-Addo commended the outgoing ambassador for his contribution to the cordial relationship between Ghana and France and expressed the country’s gratitude for his service to both countries.
He gave Mr. Pujolas credit for enhancing the relationship between Ghana and the francophone countries in the region indicating that the relationship would help facilitate the process of regional integration.
“If the concept of integration will make sense, then it will be necessary for us to be bilingual; to be able to speak French. It is very important and we are committed to that,” the President stressed.
“Above all, it is in your time that a sitting French President set foot on the Ghanaian soil when President Emmanuel Macron came here last year,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo emphasized that Mr. Pujolas was leaving behind very good friends and described his service in the country as “very successful”.
Pujolas, on his part, lauded Ghana for playing a leading role in the regional integration process as well as its contribution to peace and stability on the continent.
He recounted some of the activities that took place during his duty in the country highlighting the political and security partnerships that were signed between West Africa and the European Union and expressed his country’s commitment to those partnerships.
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