12.08.2004 General News

Gbagbo, Compaore have not lost faith in Kufuor

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...over Cote d'Ivoire Accra, Aug. 12, GNA - Foreign Affairs Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday said it was untrue that Ivoirien and Burkinabe Presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Blaise Compaore, respectively, had lost respect for President John Agyekum Kufuor in the handling of the Ivoirien peace process.

At a press conference in Accra in reaction to a statement to that effect from Mr Alban Sumanu Kingsford Bagbin, Minority Leader in Parliament, Nana Akufo-Addo said the "entire world was extremely satisfied and encouraged" by the efforts of President Kufuor as ECOWAS Chairman in bringing peace to La Cote d'Ivoire.

Nana Akufo-Addo repeatedly asked: "What is the basis of this kind of allegation the Minority Leader is making against the President?" He said the two leaders had stated through their embassies that they had not met Mr Bagbin and had never had any contact with him.

"The allegations are baseless and unfounded. They are concoctions and figment of the imagination of the Minority Leader."

Nana Akufo-Addo said the fragile and sensitive situation the Ivoiriens found themselves in was unfortunate and all the countries of West Africa had to be particularly mindful of what to do to restore peace and legality to that country, as the situation there affected peace and stability of the West Africa Sub-Region.

The success of the peace initiatives depended on the credibility and the reliability of the people involved, Nana Akufo-Addo said, and reiterated that President Kufuor had no personal interest in the outcome of the peace initiatives.

The key role Ghana and its Leader are playing in the peace process led to the signing of three Accords, the Linas-Marcoussis Accord and Accra II and III.

Nana Akufo-Addo said Accra III late last month was the result of the initiative of President Kufuor following a meeting on July 6 in Abuja, attended by Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo and Laurent Gbagbo of La Cote d'Ivoire.

The Foreign Minister said because President Kufuor had no personal or political interest in the outcome of the initiatives all the sides in the conflict were happy to deal with him as a peace broker.

Nana Akufo-Addo said following the publication of the statement of Mr Bagbin, the Foreign Ministry contacted the embassies of both La Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. After consultations with their home Presidents their governments had formally written to deny Bagbin's statement.

Ivoirien President Gbagbo in a national broadcast expressed satisfaction with the Accra III Accord, stating his appreciation to President Kufuor on his role in the signing of that accord. A delegation from President Gbagbo has also dissociated the Ivoirien President from Mr Bagbin's comments.

Nana Akufo-Addo said the Government of Ghana did not regard the conflict in La Cote d'Ivoire as just one of the conflicts in West Africa because as a neighbouring country the conflict affected the security of Ghana.

He lauded the role played by UN Secretary General Busumuru Kofi Annan; economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Executive Secretary, Mohamed Ibn Chambas and President Kufuor in the Ivoirien peace process, stating that it showed the centrality of Ghana in the Ivoirien peace process.

Nana Akufo-Addo said the comments by Mr Bagbin were just to demean the President who had the prerogative of setting the foreign policy of the State.

He said the statement was part of the invectives, ranting of the National Democratic Congress Leadership and the candidates of a desperate minority to score cheap political points and to incite the people as a massive electoral defeat stared them in the face.

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