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US to support Ghana 2016 elections with $4.5m

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Ambassador Robert Jackson
Ambassador Robert Jackson

Mr Robert P. Jackson, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, has called on all political parties in the country to make pledges to ensure a peaceful election in November.

He said political parties must be focused on getting their messages across to Ghanaians, for them to be voted into power.

Mr Jackson made the remarks in Accra during a roundtable with the press to mark his 90th day upon his assumption office in Ghana.

He said the US Government would support Ghana’s electoral process with $4.5 million, as part of its contributions towards ensuring peaceful and transparent elections.

Mr Jackson said that one-third of the assistance would go to the Electoral Commission to assist with its strategic communications and to assist in voter education.

Another one-third, he said, would be allocated through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to the Ghana National Peace Council in its activities towards the elections.

He said as part of the programme, the Embassy would be organising additional training for journalists.

Mr Jackson lauded the National Peace Council and the UNDP for having come out with a map of potential conflict areas; stating that experts on election security would be in the country to validate that work and hold discussions with the EC and civil society.

He commended the Daily Graphic for having a hashtag on peaceful elections.

On the issue of the two Ex-Guantanamo Bay Detainees who were accepted by Ghana, earlier this year, the Ambassador said there had been no money changing hands or bribes and that it was basically diplomatic negotiations.

Ghana in January accepted the two ex-detainees from the US Detention Camp in Guantanamo Bay, namely, Mahmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef (36 years) and Khalid Shayk Mohammed (34 years) both Yemen nationals.

He said following the diplomatic agreement, the US assistance to Ghana of $145 million a year had neither increased nor decreased.

“I want to be very clear that there had been no exchange of money, as far as I am concerned,” he said.

He said that his government was responsible for their accommodation and upkeep in Ghana for two years; adding that the duo do not pose any threat to the country.

He said before the ex-detainees were brought into the country, the Embassy took time to brief Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party on it, but he (Nana) had his reservations.

“I do not think that, this is being a guff. We are asking countries around the world to take these ex-detainees. And I think it had become a political issue here and I regret that,” Mr Jackson said.

“I think foreign policy should fundamentally be apolitical,” he said.

On the issue of the present of the two ex-detainees being in Ghana serving as a platform for terrorist attack, the Ambassador debunked it, saying that Mali, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast did not accept them yet they experienced terrorists’ attacks.

He said the two were Yemen nationals, who were born in Saudi Arabia and were captured in Afghanistan during a war.

He said the US had a legislation that bars it from allowing such people to live within its borders and Yemen was at war, hence the need to look for a third country.

He expressed the US Government’s gratitude to Ghana Government for accepting the duo.

Source: GNA

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