Ayorkor Botchwey pays courtesy call on Ghanaian Battalion at UNIFIL, Lebanon

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has paid a courtesy call on the Ghanaian Battalion at the United Nations Interim Force Headquarters in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as part of her four-day working visit to that country.

Ghana is the oldest and currently one of the largest contributing countries, serving UNIFIL with more than 850 troops.

Out of this, 115 were women peacekeepers, making Ghana the largest contingent with the highest number of women peacekeepers, a statement issued by the Ministry said on Friday.

It noted that since their arrival in Lebanon in 1978, the Ghanaian contingent had carried out operational and humanitarian activities, such as conducting patrols along the blue line, social donations, health outreaches, capacity building in support of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and other governmental institutions.

During the visit, the Commanding Officer of GhanaBatt 89, Colonel Kwarteng, briefed the Minister on the status of operations and indicated that despite some recent incidents, the officers were in high spirits and morale.

Madam Botchwey expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Ghana battalion for their dedicated service to the Mission and encouraged them to maintain the high sense of commitment and dedication to duty.

The Minister held separate meetings with Mr Maurice Sleem, the Lebanese Minister of Defence, and Brigadier General Joseph Auon, the Chief of Defence Staff of Lebanon, during which they spoke highly of the dedication and professional conduct of the Ghana battalion.

Mr Sleem and Brig. Gen Auon extended their gratitude to the Government of Ghana for the support it had been extending to Lebanon through the contribution of troops to UNIFIL since 1978 and pledged their unwavering support for the Ghana battalion.

Madam Botchwey sebsequently held meetings with Mr Najib Mikati, the Lebanese Prime Minister; Mr Mostafa Bayram, Minister of Labour.

Mr Elias Baysari, the Head of General Security, and Mr Tony Saliba, the Head of State Security of Lebanon, to discuss Ghana- Lebanon relations and the welfare of Ghanaian migrants.

During the meetings, the Minister highlighted some challenges faced by some Ghanaian economic migrants and requested for the Lebanese authorities to have a relook at the guaranteed system.

The relevant government agencies expressed their readiness to work together with the Ghanaian agencies and the Honorary Consul of Ghana in Lebanon to draw up an agreement to provide the appropriate framework and conducive environment for Ghanaian employees in that country.

The Minister visited the Honorary Consulate of Ghana and commended Mr Ali Samih Jaafar, the Honorary Consul, for his continuous support for the welfare of Ghanaians in Lebanon and expressed the hope that he would continue to work towards drawing more Lebanese businesses to Ghana.

Source: GNA

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