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General News of Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Source: GNA

Ghana, Ukraine discuss bilateral issues, pledge to strengthen ties

Accra, May 14, GNA - Ghana and Ukraine have held discussions in Accra to strengthen existing ties and to seek mutual cooperation that would be beneficial to both countries. To this end, their foreign ministries on Tuesday established a mechanism for regular consultations and signed a protocol for the establishment of bilateral consultations between both countries. Dr Charles Brempong-Yeboah, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister signed for Ghana, whilst his Ukrainian counterpart, Yuriy Kostenko initialed for his country. The Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister was in the country on a two-day official visit at the invitation of his Ghanaian counterpart.

Both Ministers held bilateral consultations on political issues and agreed on the possibility of President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana and President Viktor Yuschenko and their respective Foreign Affairs Ministers visiting each other's countries at a date to be determined. Top on the list of areas of cooperation in the protocol include the promotion and expansion of trade, military and technical cooperation, and education. On the trade sphere, they urged captains of industry to establish trade contacts, with the Ukrainian side expressing the desire to establish a trade exhibition office in Accra to facilitate contacts between the business community in Ghana and Ukraine.

The Ukrainian expressed the desire to elevate Ghana from its number three trading partner in Africa, after Egypt and Algeria, to the first position, and offered to set up a joint venture in Ghana in cocoa processing for export to Ukraine. In the defence sector, Ukraine has offered to discuss technical assistance with the Ghana Armed Forces and to assist to train both military and police personnel in that country.

Both countries agreed that there was the need for cooperation in education through the exchange of educational visits, with Ukraine offering to increase its scholarship quota for Ghana from two to 15. It further expressed the desire to establish an international school in Ghana to train Ghanaian students in the Ukrainian language and culture. The deputy ministers agreed that their governments would support each other's candidatures for elections to posts at the UN where possible, pledged to support peacekeeping operations and cooperate to combat terrorism around the world. Mr Kostenko has since left Accra.

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