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Ghana’s President Makes a U-Turn, Blasts Critics of U.S Military Deal, Insists Its Good for Regional Peace

For over a month now, Ghanaians have been protesting their government’s decision to approve a military deal with the United States government that gives U.S. forces and their contractors unimpeded access to facilities in the country among other controversial clauses in the agreement.

This agreement was ratified by parliament last month after a minority walkout and protest in and outside the House against the deal which is expected to get Ghana an annual fee of $20 million.

Ghanaians have since asked the president to renegotiate the agreement, saying that it is not in the best interest of the country.

But the president in a national address on Thursday expressed anger at the protests and dismissed claims that the U.S. is seeking to build a military base in Ghana.

He said the deal, which was approved by parliament last month and allows for the deployment of U.S troops and their military equipment in Ghana, was in line with previous international pacts and did not constitute an offer to Washington to establish a military base.

Opposition lawmakers boycotted the vote after failing to block its approval, leaving members of the ruling party to ratify it.

So let me state with the clearest affirmation that Ghana has not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America.

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“It is our firm belief that the agreement will help enhance our defence capability, and offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region,” Akufo-Addo said in a televised speech.

It was his first comment on a deal widely criticised by Ghanaians, including civil society groups and minor political parties.

Thousands of Ghanaians last week protested in the capital Accra against the agreement, in a rare public display of opposition to a growing foreign military presence in West Africa.

Akufo-Addo rejected assertions by critics that the deal would allow the United States to establish a military base in Ghana.

“So let me state with the clearest affirmation that Ghana has not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America,” he said.

“Indeed, the United States of America has not made any request for such consideration and, consistent with our established foreign policy, we will not consider any such request,” he added.

The deal will also allow U.S troops to use an airport runway that meets U.S. standards, and have free access to Ghana’s radio spectrum. In return, the United States will invest $20 million in equipment and the training of Ghanaian troops.

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Written by How Africa

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