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Parliament to ‘fight’ US Embassy over withdrawal of protocols to former presidents

Ghanaians will resist attempts by the US Embassy in Ghana to withdraw courtesies and protocols to its former Presidents and top politicians embarking on private visits, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has hinted.

“This country will resist, the foreign affairs committee in parliament will resist and we as ordinary Ghanaians will resist that move because we cannot allow it to happen. Ghana is a sovereign state. If they try that we will also reciprocate same and expect them to also go through the same processes when they are coming into the country”, he stated Accra-based Okay Fm.

Even though Ghana is relatively a small country, the ranking member of foreign affairs committee of parliament observed that it undermines bilateral relations and that Ghana can also take same action against them.

“We cannot allow our senior citizens and our former presidents especially considering their age to be treated anyhow. It cannot be accepted and we will resist it but I pray it does not get there”, he added.

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The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson on Thursday hinted that, Members of Parliament, Ministers of state including all former presidents are expected to join queue like ordinary Ghanaians, when applying for US visas for their private visits.

According to the US authorities, Ghana embassy has withdrawn all courtesies extended to top politicians in the country on such visits to their country.

“Now if you are travelling for tourism or business that is not related to government business, you will need to make a personal appearance. For official travel, protocol officers pass the passports for visa applications through the foreign ministry’s protocol office. But for personal travel, every person is required to make a personal appearance, even former presidents of Ghana have to come in for personal appearance,” Mr Jackson told the parliament.

It is not yet known what triggered this latest diplomatic action by the US embassy, but sources say some politicians have abused the previous courtesy arrangement.

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