UK Junior Minister of Armed Forces visits Ghana

James Heappey

Mr James Heappey, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Minister of Armed Forces is in Accra for a three-day visit to Ghana.

A statement issued by the British High Commission in Accra, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said Mr Heappey’s visit formed part of a short tour of the West African region.

Mr Heappey said: “Ghana is a vital security partner and the UK greatly values our relationship. It is also a beacon of stability in West Africa and there is so much which our two countries share – from values like promoting democracy and multilateralism, to tackling threats like terrorism, extremism and organised crime.”

“That is why it is crucial that we continue to work together hand-in-hand to tackle these problems and defend our way of life, and the UK looks forward to expanding and deepening our cooperation going forward.”

The statement said the long-term stability of the Sahel continues to be a focus for the UK government and to highlight the UK’s commitment to the UK-Ghana security partnership Mr Heappey would meet Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of National Security and Mr Dominic Aduna Bingab Nitiwul, the Minister of Defence.

It said they would discuss regional security issues affecting Ghana including piracy, illegal smuggling, and threats to the country’s Northern border.

Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, said: “Ghana remains one of the UK’s closest security allies in West Africa and despite COVID-19 the country’s focus on peace and security has only strengthened.”

“Minister Heappey’s visit comes as our nations work together to deliver counter-terrorism training and explosive hazard awareness Instructor training.

“It is examples like this that show the strength and longevity of our security partnership, ensuring that Ghana remains a centre of peace and security across the region.”

The statement said during his visit Mr Heappey would also lay a wreath in memory of the fallen at the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG) Headquarters.

It said he would also meet Commonwealth veterans who had already received the COVAX COVID-19 vaccine and hear their experience of being some of the first in Ghana to receive the vaccine.

In 2018 the UK government launched a £12 million programme delivered by the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League to support more than 7000 pre-independence Commonwealth veterans and their widows. The Veterans Association of Ghana is a partner of the programme.

The UK is one of the largest humanitarian donors to the Sahel – in 2020 the UK gave £14.65m in humanitarian aid to Mali and is currently in the process of increasing the size of the UK embassy to reinforce our diplomatic strength in the country.

The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors to COVAX contributing £548m.

COVAX is helping to provide supply of 1bn doses for up to 92 developing countries in 2021 and supporting global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Through COVAX, the UK is supporting the fair and equitable distribution of entirely free COVID-19 vaccines for up to 500 million people in low and middle-income countries during 2021, covering 20 per cent of their populations.

Source: GNA

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