The use of Ghana’s presidential plane by other heads of state, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, is a “proactive” gesture that demonstrates Ghana’s foreign policy beliefs.
According to the statement, the gesture bolstered bilateral and multilateral diplomatic ties, as well as sub-regional unity and harmony.
This is according to a statement released by the Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Ministry in Accra in response to a question from Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, about the use of Ghana’s presidential jet by Liberian President Mr George Weah.
Mr Ablakwa had questioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-decision Addo’s to replace his Falcon 900-EXE with a more “expensive” and “luxurious” Airbus ACJ320neo for his foreign visits.
President Akufo-Addo, in his capacity as ECOWAS Chair, not only convened an emergency ECOWAS Summit, but also facilitated the travel of some of his colleague heads of state, including President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau, according to the statement.
“It is common knowledge that as part of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic relations, numerous friendly states provide assistance of various kinds,” the statement stated.
“It must be emphasised that the practice of sharing travel resources among West African heads of state and high-ranking officials is not a recent phenomenon.
“Thus, Ghanaian leaders have in the past been transported to different parts of the world on presidential aircraft of other states.”
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo offered former President John Agyekum Kufuor a ride on Nigeria’s presidential jet, according to the report.
Due to the short notice given for the emergency meeting, the gesture went a great way in ensuring the presence of practically all heads of state in the sub-region, according to the statement.
“In an era when Ghana’s government and citizens are supporting a resurgence of Pan-Africanism across the continent and the diaspora, (with free trade taking off under the AfCFTA), Mr Ablakwa’s position comes as a surprise to the Ministry,” according to the Ministry.
“Indeed, our remit for regional integration remains a vital part of Africa’s urgent quest for unity.
“Thus we find any suggestion by the Mr Ablakwa that the government of Ghana’s foreign policy initiatives, which foster African unity are irrelevant, rather strange.”
Ghana would not bill any of the heads of state to whom the Falcon was made accessible, according to the statement.
As a result, the Ministry assured Ghanaians that the government would not waste public funds, but would instead pursue a realistic foreign policy that promoted regional integration and good neighborliness in an atmosphere of peace and stability.