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21.10.2008 Politics

Ghanaians resolve to live under constitutional democracy-Kufuor

By gna

Ghanaians are resolved to live under the enlightened political system of constitutional democracy and to consign military interventions to history, President John Agyekum Kufuor, declared on Tuesday.

Addressing the Dutch Senate on Tuesday, he said, there was ample evidence of this, having already gone through four successful elections since 1992, with the fifth coming up on December 7.

A solid foundation of a buoyant economy, expanding social services and an insightful and independent judicial system had been laid for sustained democratic governance that would stand the test of time and circumstances.

President Kufuor, accompanied by the wife Theresa, Foreign Affairs Minister Akwasi Osei-Adjei, the Attorney General, Joe Ghartey and other senior Government Officials is on a three-day state visit to the Netherlands.

It comes barely two months to the end of his Presidency and is at the invitation of the Dutch Government.

The visit has a dual agenda to strengthen Ghana-Dutch bilateral relations and to publicly recognize President Kufuor for his good leadership that has helped to transform his country into a model of democracy, stability and peace in the continent of Africa.

The two nations have had contacts for more than 300 years and enjoy warm relations with the European country's development assistance to Ghana put at about 70 million euros annually.

President Kufuor said it was time they took special look at their diplomatic and business relationships to enable them to serve as the prime movers of the new Euro-African partnership.

It was a fact of life, he said, that economic power was becoming diffused and therefore it was only countries that ventured to make fresh alliances that were likely to recover their stability from the current global crisis in the financial market.

"The current crunch in the areas of finance, crude oil price hikes and food shortages clearly demonstrate that competition is no more futuristic but is here and now."

He urged the Netherlands, the third most successful nation in the world in terms of value-addition to agricultural produce, to accept the challenge to open up to strategic partnership and help to hasten the rapid development of Africa, which was largely agricultural, to mainstream into the global market.

President Kufuor conveyed appreciation for the Dutch Government for conversion of debts owed by Ghana, totalling 550 million dollars into Official Development Assistance (ODA) as well as Development-Related Export Transactions Programme (ORET) support for Dutch firms operating in his country.

He, however, called for the enlargement of the ORET support, given the increasingly absorptive capacity of the Ghanaian economy.

Additionally, he asked for the Senate's support for the completion of the Sefwi-Wiawso/Benchiman to Cote d'Ivoire border road project, being undertaken by the Dutch Company, Messrs Interbeton, and the rehabilitation of the Tamale General Hospital.

Mrs Yvonne E.M.A. Timmerman-Buck, President of the Senate, lauded Ghana for the way its electoral processes had been conducted, which, she said, had been exemplary and acknowledged President Kufuor for transforming the country into the African model of stability and democracy.

Regarding the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, she noted that Ghana was on the right track.

She said it was important that development aid was improved, faster delivered, more flexible and better coordinated to help to speed up the pace of progress of developing countries.

From Kwaku Osei Bonsu, GNA Special Correspondent, The Hague

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