From: Kwasi Kpodo, GNA Special Correspondent, Monrovia Courtesy: US Embassy, Accra
Monrovia, Liberia, Oct. 16, GNA -- Ghana's Ambassador in Liberia, Mr Kwame Amoa-Awua on Saturday night honoured the Chief Mediator of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), General Abdusalami Ababubakar, and two others for the "imeasurable role" they played in the marathon Liberian peace negotiation process and urged him to document his experience for future reference.
The other two recipients were Mrs Henrietta Didigu, chief ECOWAS legal officer, who drafted provisions of the 2003 peace agreement, and Mr Sunny Ugoh, a senior communication officer of the regional body. Presenting "gifts of appreciation and recognition" to Gen. Abubakar at the Ghana House in Monrovia, Mr Amoa-Awua said the success of the negotiations and the susbequent peace accord agreed by the Liberian factions, contributed immensely to the survival of Ghanaian businesses, especially fishermen, whose livelihood had come under serious threat as a result of the war in that country.
"As chief peace negotiator, your achievement did not only benefit the Liberian people, but it also brought renewed hope to many other West Africans, particularly Ghanaian fishermen whose livelihood had almost crumbled," Mr Amoa-Awua said as he presented an embossed artwork depicting fishermen at sea to the former Nigeria military ruler. More than a third of Liberia's fish supplies is provided by Ghanaian fishermen in that country.
Mr. Amoa-Awua, who was also a key player in the Accra mediation process said he was particularly struck by Gen. Abubakar's tolerance and extreme patience with which he presided over the mediation. "It came to a point some of us thought enough was enough -- our patience had almost run out because of the intransigence of the factions, but the General, rather unsoldierly, remained calm and took things easy and urged on with the process."
He said the return of peace to Liberia had helped bridged the ties between the Ghana Embassy and Ghanaians, hence, he deemed it fit to show appreciation to the mediation team.
General Abubakar in turn commended Mr Amoa-Awua for his role as advisor at the talks. "He provided us with all the crucial information we needed during the talks, and reliably too."
The chief mediator paid tribute to President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo for relentlessly facilitating the peace talks.
"We would not have been celebrating peace in Liberia today if good people of Ghana had not provided us with the right atmosphere needed for the talks-- right from Akosombo to Accra -- the Ghanaian people welcomed us, sometimes at the expense of their own pressing needs," said Gen Abubakar.
At the ceremony were members of the ECOWAS observer team led by a former senior diplomat of Ghana, Eben Debrah. The others were Mr Francis Tsegah, Ghana's Ambassador to Spain, Brigadier Francis Agyemfra, former Ambassador to Liberia, Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia, Enieje Onobu, as well as senior Ghanaian military officers serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia.
Last Tuesday's presidential and legislature elections formed part of the comprehensive peace deal after nearly three months of peace talks in Accra to end years of fighting that forced former President, Charles Taylor into exile. Oct 16 05