Government has revealed that it may be compelled to look into other options available to Ghana, if the American Embassy does not rescind its decision to withdraw US protocol visas for ex Ghanaian Presidents, after Foreign Minister Ayorkor Botchwey engages the American Ambassador later today (Friday).
Henceforth, former Presidents and Members of Parliament (MP) are expected to join the queue like ordinary Ghanaians when applying for US visas for their private visits.
The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson when he appeared before Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Thursday stated that apart from the official travel for ex-Presidents and MPs, which goes through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in all other applications the applicants must personally present them.
The Ambassador said the official applications are processed within 48 hours but “travelling on business or tourism which is not related to government business, you need to make a personal appearance, even former Presidents have to come themselves,.”
But speaking on Joy FM Friday, Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah stated that the Akufo Addo-led government is not happy with the decision taken particularly against the ex President and has as a result asked the Foreign Minister to seek further details and clarification from authorities at the American Embassy over their resolution.
“The Foreign Minister mentioned this is strange and therefore this engagement with US Embassy will be aimed at ensuring that Ghana will not be harmed in anyway by these news things that are being mentioned by some of America’s Embassies in other parts of the world. She’s also hinted that sometimes when you do that it raises questions of reciprocity and what options a nation is left with when you do that, and government will be exploring whatever options is available after these engagements with the US Embassy. But the view as at this morning is to engage and get further details on the full extent and then take the necessary action.”
Asked whether by the Host Kojo Yankson whether the Foreign Minister will be seeking for further details or seeking a reversal of the decision, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said “the Executive will engage and also get further details, but even in getting further details they are minded of the fact that these are courtesies extended to former Presidents, former presidents with the greatest of respects are not like you and I, they are first gentlemen of the land during their days and we extend them some courtesies the world over. And so while the Executive will seek to get further details, we’ll also be doing that with an eye to ensure that these courtesies are restored. And she’s gone further to say that depending on how you’ll respond when she engages, there are other options that our country may also be forced to look into.”