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16.02.2006 General News

Out-going Palestinian Ambassador bids farewell

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Accra, Feb. 16, GNA - Mr Ibrahim Khalil Omar, the out-going Palestinian Ambassador to Ghana and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, on Thursday called on President John Agyekum Kufuor at the Castle, Osu, to bid him farewell.

He is leaving after 19 years and seven months duty tour of the country. President Kufuor praised him for serving his nation so well, describing him as a consummate diplomat and a very smart politician with discerning eye for all aspects of politics. He said for the Government of the State of Palestine to have retained him for almost 20 years in one place showed, he has special qualities. "You have been an exceptional ambassador of your nation to Ghana."

President Kufuor said he was also a "real master" who as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps demonstrated openness and accessibility. "You have already been honoured by Ghana with the highest State Award. Government would forever remember you as a good friend and I wish you well, wherever you may find yourself." President Kufuor said Ghana had not only recognised the State of Palestine but that it wanted to see her take its proper place within the comity of nations.

Mr Omar expressed profound gratitude for the warm reception accorded him and said during his stay in Ghana he felt like he was living at home with his people.

"I would never forget my experience here and I am going to be an ambassador of Ghana wherever I go", he said. He recalled his early days in the country when Ghana was under a military rule and the transition to constitutional democracy and said there had been significant democratic changes in the country. "I can see democratic changes in the mentality of the people. They are now more democratic even in their thinking." Touching on the recent Hamas electoral victory in Palestine, Mr Omar said by their constitution, the Government had to respect all agreements signed with Israel and did not foresee any problems with the peace process.

He said they were determined to continue with the peace talks with Israel to assure their children of a safe and secured future and called on the international community to continue to support them. The coming of Hamas as the new Palestinian Government should convince all about the level of democracy in their country, Mr Omar said.