President John Atta Mills PRESIDENT JOHN Evans Mills has assured the international community, particularly the West Africa sub-region that his administration will endeavour to ratify outstanding Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocols.
These protocols, he said, are the convention on small arms and light weapons, general convention on the equivalent of degrees, diplomas, certificates and other qualifications in ECOWAS member states as well as the protocol establishing the criminal intelligence and investigation bureau.
President Mills made the commitment when he hosted Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ministers of States and some institutional heads at the OSU Castle on the occasion of his New Year Interaction with the diplomats.
The annual affair was delayed as a result of the epic election process Ghana went through before finally choosing a president.
“Indeed, the rising occurrence of cross-border crimes has become a major cause of concern.
“It is therefore imperative to ensure a full and effective functioning of the criminal intelligence and investigation bureau of ECOWAS,” he stressed.
President Mills assured his guests that the government “I lead will remain committed to conflict prevention, conflict management and mediation efforts in our sub-region, Africa and the world.”
On peacekeeping, the president noted that peace and security remained pre-requisites for economic growth and development in Africa.
To achieve this, President Mills indicated that there was the need to encourage the institutions of democracy to function in a manner that would represent the genuine aspirations of all the people.
He therefore reminded those who have been placed in positions of trust in Africa to have a tasking responsibility to help the continent overcome some of its negative perceptions.
“We must therefore strengthen our resolve to protect the democratic gains we have made and respect the rule of law,” President Mills urged.
Giving an account of the last election and the tension it generated, President Mills said in view of the trust and confidence placed in them by Ghanaians and their expectations “accountability of public office holders will be a non-negotiable principle that will guide this administration.”
He commended the diplomats for working behind the scenes during the elections to help Ghana remain the bedrock of true democracy when it appeared political tensions was rising.
On oil exploration and lessons learned from other African countries, President Mills, assured the international community that he would “review the draft oil law introduced by the previous government and ensure needed regulations and transparency measures are put in place.”
He called for partnership in tackling the drug trafficking menace and support to address the challenges facing the economy.
President Mills said, “I will assure you that we will remain committed to achieving macro-economic stability and to ensure the environment remains conducive for economic growth.”
In an earlier address, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Tete Jean-Pierre Gbikpi Benissan, on behalf of his colleagues said the diplomatic community heaved a sigh of relief when the elections were over and a winner was declared without any trouble contrary to fears that mayhem was imminent.
He acknowledged Ghana as bedrock of democracy and an oasis of peace, having demonstrated maturity in the facing of retributions.
Mr. Gbikpi Benissan therefore urged his colleagues to take a cue from Ghana's achievement to make the continent trouble-free.
The diplomats pledged their supports to the socio-economic development of the country and urged investors to take advantage of the peaceful situation in Ghana to do their business.
Mr. Gbikpi Benissan congratulated the Black Satellites for winning the African Youth Championship played in Kigali, Rwanda.
The diplomats later extended warm felicitations to the president and his vice John Mahama.
Other dignitaries at the function were Chief Justice Georgina Wood, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Joyce Bamford-Addo, Speaker of Parliament, Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin, P.C Appiah Ofori from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Samia Nkrumah from the Convention People's Party (CPP)
By Wisdom Peter Awuku