President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), has arrived in Ghana on a maiden visit as part of a three nation African tour.
President Ahmadinejad is expected to hold discussions with President John Dramani Mahama on ways of strengthening the NAM. The leaders would also co-chair a bilateral meeting to deliberate on issues of mutual interest.
The two-day visit is the last leg of his African tour, which included Benin, Niger and Ghana.
President Ahmadinejad is expected to share with his Ghanaian counterpart, Iran’s experiences, especially in the oil and gas industry.
He was welcomed by President John Dramani Mahama, amidst pomp and pageantry.
A cultural troupe drummed and danced to receive him. A contingent from the Ghana Armed Forces also mounted a parade to welcome the Iranian guest.
Scores of supporters and members of the ruling National Democratic Congress and the Muslim community also thronged the KIA to meet President Ahmadinejad, some clad in the traditional Muslim garb while others were in T-shirts with Ghana-Iran inscribed on them.
Member of the Iranian community in Ghana, with their wives and children were also present at the airport.
After inspecting the parade on arrival, President Ahmadinejad shook hands with the dignitaries who had gathered to welcome him, including some members of the diplomatic corps, Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs, representatives from the Iranian Embassy and security personnel.
He also went round to greet the scores of people who had gathered to meet him, even stopping to chat with some of the Iranian children.
President Ahmadinejad and his entourage, including his wife, are expected to hold series of meetings with President Mahama and other personalities on Wednesday.
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states which are not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2012, the movement has 120 members and 17 observer countries.
The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely conceived by Yugoslavia’s president, Josip Broz Tito; Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno; Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser; Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah; and India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
All five leaders were prominent advocates of a middle course for states in the Developing World between the Western and Eastern blocs in the Cold War. The phrase itself was first used to represent the doctrine by Indian diplomat and statesman V.K. Krishna Menon in 1953, at the United Nations.