General News of Wednesday, 21 March 2018
The Akufo-Addo government should be applauded by Ghanaians for not hiding the security deal between Ghana and the government of the United States of America contrary to what the Mahama administration did in a similar 2015 agreement, Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul has said.
The Bimbilla lawmaker told journalists in Accra on Wednesday, 21 March that unlike the 1998 and 2015 agreements that were hidden by the previous governments, one of which, he said, was signed by Hanna Tetteh, Foreign Affairs Minister in the Mahama administration about three years ago, the Akufo-Addo government has elected to be transparent with Ghanaians as far as the updated security deal is concerned.
In Mr Nitiwul’s view, there are virtually no differences between the two previous agreements and the current one, and, so, wondered why the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its Minority Caucus are accusing the current government of selling off Ghana’s sovereignty for $20million when it was the Mahama administration that signed one of the precedent agreements, which, according to him, have merely been upgraded.
He said all the things the NDC and the Minority are shouting about are already in the two previous agreements which were secretly signed by the previous governments.
“Two years ago, Hanna Tetteh sold us, not us. In 1998, they sold us,” Mr Nitiwul said.
Per the defence agreement between the two countries, Ghana would, among others, provide “unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United State forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such agreed facilities and area: or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by Unite States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces”.
Mr Nitiwul has, however, denied the U.S. will be building a military base per the agreement.
The U.S. Embassy in Ghana has also denied same. In a statement, the Embassy said on Tuesday, 20 March 2018 that: “The United States Embassy wishes to underscore that the United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana.”
“The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana, is approximately 20 years old. It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance.
“This year, the United States of America is investing over $20million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S Forces as it did in 2017”.