$20m is good return for Ghana’s military – US Ambassador

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Robert-P.-Jackson

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson says the presence of American troops in Ghana will not be an invasion of the country.

In an interview with Joy News’ Gifty Andoh Appiah in Accra Thursday, the US Ambassador expressed surprise at the public uproar that has greeted the deal.

“We are going to have three major military exercises this year – navel exercise, judicious response and then United Accord a counter-terrorism/security exercise. These exercises bring a few hundred Americans and several hundred troops from Ghana’s neighbours together with the Ghanaian armed forces so that they can learn to work more effectively together.

“Once the exercise is over, the Americans will leave. There is no persistent presence and we have a very small group of military officers and soldiers at our embassy as defense attache and security cooperation officers and they are the only US military who are in Ghana on a permanent basis. This is not an invasion,” Mr Jackson stressed.

The contents of the Defense Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries have generated a huge public outcry with the Minority in Parliament vowing to resist attempts to ratify the agreement.

Apart from being able to use Ghana as a base for staging and deploying its military, the agreement also gives the US troops unfettered access to certain agreed locations in the country.

Ghana, per the agreement, is to bear the cost and take primary responsibility for securing their facilities while the troops are in the country.

The US troops are also to be allowed to use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free. They will also enjoy tax exemptions.

Ghanaians are incensed by the agreement and even more troubled that if Parliament approves the deal the presence of the troops will jeopardise the security of the country and the sovereignty of the state.

But Mr Jackson said there is no cause for worry and that Ghana rather stands to benefit from the deal.

He reiterated government’s stance that the deal, in the long run, will benefit the country rather than cause any harm.

“20 million dollars being invested in the Ghanaian Armed Forces in one year is a pretty significant return,” he said, adding that the US does not intend in any way to destabilise the country.

Meanwhile, Minority Members of Parliament on Parliament’s Defence and Interior Committee have served notice they will issue a dissenting report if the committee recommends the approval of the US-Ghana agreement on joint military operations.

The Minority insists the agreement doesn’t serve Ghana’s interest and wants it withdrawn.

SOURCE: Myjoyonline