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23.05.2005 General News

Ghana shows gratitude to US Diplomat

By GNA

Accra, May 23, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Monday expressed Ghana's gratitude to Mr David Queen, out-going United States Counsellor for Public Affairs, for his laudable contributions towards improving the welfare of poor communities, especially Muslims.

Mr Queen is also credited with fostering warm ties between Ghanaian Muslims and Americans during his duty tour from 2002.

At a brief ceremony at the Castle, Osu, Vice President Mahama presented gifts to Mr Queen on behalf of Ghanaians, particularly Muslims.

Sheikh Ibrahim Mukhtar Baba Cap, Director of the Centre for Islamic Youth Services, also honoured Mr Queen and outgoing Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates with gifts and certificates.

Vice President Mahama said Ghanaians would forever cherish Mr Queen's services, particularly in the areas of improving the quality of health and education of rural people.

"With the bond of friendship you have established with Ghanaian Muslims, you have proved to the world that Americans can cordially and peacefully relate with Muslims wherever they may be," he noted. Mr Queen, who said he was immensely touched by the gesture, told Journalists that he decided to prioritise his relations with the Muslim Community having realised that vast misconceptions existed on both sides about each other.

Additionally, he said, American relations with Ghana over the years had not paid particular attention to the needs of Muslims. He, therefore, initiated roundtable discussions on American Foreign Policy, founded the Ramadan Breakfast Meetings, promoted education-related exchange programmes and sponsorship of demand-driven projects.

These included boreholes, a community centre, clinic and the posting of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Muslim Communities. Mr Queen said the experiences he gathered from his earlier stay in some Islamic countries aided his strides in Ghana. He said he had also learned a lot from Ghana that would help him in Paris, where he was going to serve.

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