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General News | Dec 30, 2004

JAK appeals to France for assistance on Ivorian crisis

GNA

Accra, Dec. 30, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday appealed to France to provide all the needed assistance to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to achieve peace, stability and progress in Cote d'Ivoire.

He said France had the moral duty and self-interest in the search for global peace and should, therefore, endeavour to offer the needed assistance to ECOWAS to bring lasting peace to that country.

President Kufuor, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS, made the appeal when Mr Jean-Michel Berrit, French Ambassador in Ghana, paid a farewell call on him at the Castle, Osu on Thursday after a four-year duty tour. He said: "France can support the efforts of ECOWAS more than any country outside the Sub-Region because it is the most informed foreign country on African issues and especially being a former colonial ally of Cote d'Ivoire".

"France should use her experience, knowledge and interest in Cote d'Ivoire to help us serve the interests of the factions in the crisis to enable the factions know that peace in Cote d'Ivoire will be a win for all of them", he said.

President Kufuor said: "Ghana will count on France to show the way forward for peace in Cote d'Ivoire."

He expressed appreciation to Mr Berrit for the improved and cordial relationship between the two countries during his tenure of office.

President Kufuor mentioned the cancellation of the 127 million Euros debt Ghana owed France, saying: "It is a very big achievement during your tenure of office."

He said during the tenure of Mr Berrit, the relationship between both countries was raised to a higher pedestal for their mutual benefit in the fields of governance, education, defence, finance and agriculture in addition "to many landmarks chalked by both countries".

Mr Berrit commended Ghana for her support in finding lasting solution to the Ivorian crisis, especially the Accra Accord III and the unique role played by President Kufuor.

He said the relationship between Ghana and France had not improved only on the socio-economic level but on the political level as well and that they had supported the Ghana Police Service not only to protect lives and property but also the maintenance of rule of law.

Mr Berrit said French troops had training programmes with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) while France had pledged support to the "Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre" (KAIPTC) in Accra.

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