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24.02.2006 General News

Movement of people, goods must be within the law - JAK


Accra, Feb 24, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday welcomed the joint initiative by the Interior Ministers of Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo to check trans-border criminality through closer co-operation in intelligence gathering and sharing, describing it as laudable.

This, he said, sent a strong signal that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was evolving.

''The free movement of people and goods across frontiers, a key protocol of the sub-regional grouping, must be carried out within the parameters of the law,'' President Kufuor said when the ministers paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, Ghana's Minister of Interior, Mr Djibril Yipene Bassole, Interior and National Security Minister, Burkina Faso and Colonel Laokpassi Pitalounaani, Togo's Minister of Interior, are meeting the Heads of Customs, Immigration and Intelligence Chiefs from the three countries.

President Kufuor said peace and security within the sub-region could not be better promoted if the security network was not in place to sieve out miscreants and undesirables. He said it was therefore his hope that their colleagues from the other ECOWAS countries would team up with them to strengthen the protocol and relations.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said relations among the security agencies of the three neighbouring countries were solid and they would continue to build upon it.

The maiden meeting of the tripartite was held in Burkina Faso in October last year.

Mr Bassole said there could not be development without peace and security and it was on the basis of this that the countries should work in partnership to respond to cross border crimes.

"It is important that we meet regularly to exchange views on difficulties that exist", he added.

Mr Pitalounaani spoke of the need to see to it that their countries did not offer shelter to wanted criminals from other nations. To do this, he said, demanded collective research and intelligence sharing among the security agencies.