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General News of Thursday, 8 October 2009

Source: GNA

Kufuor heads international peace group

Accra, 0ct. 8, GNA- Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has assumed chairmanship of the Governing Council of Interpeace, an international non-governmental organisation, based in Geneva, Switzerland, that operates in conflict societies and aims at building peace around the world.

A statement issued in Accra by Mr Frank Agyekum, Press Secretary of the Office of former President said Mr Kufuor's assumption of office follows a meeting in New York with members of the Governing Council at which he was formally introduced by President Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and 2008 Noble Prize Winner for Peace, who is stepping down as Chairman of the Council.

According to a statement released from the Office of the Director-General of Interpeace, which is supported by the United Nations, Mr. Scott Weber, President Ahtisaari said: "I have observed Kufuor's leadership in Ghana and his commitment to peace in ECOWAS and the African Union and have no doubt of his ability to continue with the objectives of the organisation."

He also said that it was in order at this stage of Interpeace's development to experience leadership from the Southern perspective.

Former President Kufuor who would meet with the full council members in Geneva in December 2009, said he was humbled by President Ahtisaari's recognition of his modest work and expressed the hope that with his support and that of the council he would be able to take Interpeace to another level.

The council members include Paddy Ashdown, member of the British House of Lords, Thomas Greminger, Swiss government representative, Joano Honwana, Director, Africa Division of the United Nations Political Affairs Department, a representative of the UN Secretary-General and others. After New York former President Kufuor delivered a key note in the Hague where the Dutch Development Corporation celebrated 60 years of working in Africa and also gave a major lecture on "Ghana's Democratic Journey" at the University of Leiden, one of the Netherlands leading universities whose first Africa research scholar was the late Prime Minister of Ghana, Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia.

He also joined his colleagues Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Sam Nujoma of Nambia, Alpha Konare of Mali in Tokyo to participate in the UNESCO and United Nations University conference on "Africa and Globalisation- Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future".

The conference, which was also the last major assignment for the out-going Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura afforded the former African leaders the opportunity to thank him for his contributions towards Africa's progress.

President Obasanjo who did this on behalf of Africa was full of praises for the Japanese diplomat who started his career in Ghana in the 1960s. The former Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Kuozumi also paid a courtesy call on Kufuor at his hotel and said though Kufuor like him was out of power, Ghana-Japan relations should flourish. The former Prime Minister Kuozumi promised to work with Kufuor through his Foundation and that to be established by Kufuor to ensure that development challenges are discussed and worked on. President Kufuor said he was overwhelmed by the visit and look forward to strengthening their personal friendship and working for the public good. 7 Oct. 09