GHANA has conferred its highest honour, the Order of the Star of Ghana, on President Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali for his contribution to democracy and leadership of his country.
President J. A. Kufuor conferred the honour at a state banquet on Saturday in honour of President Toure at the end of his three-day state visit.
A citation that accompanied the honour described the Malian President as a fighter for democracy who has deepened relations between Ghana and Mali.
In his response, President Toure expressed his gratitude to Ghana for the honour and spoke of Ghana as a great nation.
'We are happy to celebrate this day and the cordial relations between our two countries,' he said.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the visit, the two presidents agreed to convene the 11th session of the permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation between them within three months to examine draft agreements which have been submitted by both sides.
They also called for the establishment of an effective mechanism for monitoring the implementation of decisions agreed upon by the Joint Commission.
The two leaders reaffirmed their willingness to enhance bilateral cooperation between Ghana and Mali and agreed as well as developing appropriate mechanism for the effective implementation of common strategies.
The two heads of states highlighted the importance of the private sector to the economic growth of their countries and called for the identification and development of mutually beneficial joint commercial and industrial activities between private sector operators.
In the area of trade, the two leaders emphasised the need for greater collaboration on the use of the Ghanaian corridor and to direct the appropriate agencies in their respective countries to work hard to ensure smooth transportation of goods to and from Mali.
They expressed satisfaction at the signing of agreements for the establishment of a twin city relationship between Kumasi and Mopt in Mali.
They expressed concern about the activities of rebel groups which continue to destabilise the sub-region.
In that regard, President Kufuor commended President Toure for his initiative to convene a conference on security and development in the Sahel-Sahara region this year.
They exchanged views on security and development issues on the continent and expressed their full support for all efforts aimed at promoting good governance, peace and stability in the sub-region as a pre-requisite for accelerated integration and sustainable economic growth and development.
The two presidents reiterated their respect for the principles and objectives of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement and the African Union.
They re-affirmed their support for the reform in the United Nations and for Africa’s position and its aspirations to become a permanent member with full rights in an expanded UN Security Council.
The two leaders shared their perspectives on global strategic partnerships and how these could positively impact the integration and socio-economic development of the African continent.
President Toure has since left for home.