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General News of Tuesday, 19 February 2008

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US President Bush in Ghana

Accra, Feb. 19, GNA - US President George Walker Bush on Tuesday night arrived in Ghana from Rwanda on the fourth-leg of his five-nation African tour.

Air Force One, the US Presidential Jet carrying him and the First Lady, Laura, touched down at the Kotoka International Airport at exactly 1900 hours.

President John Agyekum Kufuor was on hand to officially receive him at the foot of the gangway.

Also there were some Ministers of State and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Nine-year old Mabel Addo-Baah of the Christ the King International School, Cantonments, Accra, presented the US President with a bouquet.

After exchanging pleasantries, the two Leaders moved to the Jubilee Lounge for brief discussions as a cultural group of the Musician Association of Ghana, the African Showtime Dancers treated President Bush to some beautiful cultural display.

The meeting between President Kufuor and his guest lasted for about 25 minutes.

Security was tight and the airport was closed to other planes while a helicopter of the Ghana Air Force hovered above.

Before enplaning for Ghana from Kigali, President Bush paid a sombre homage to the estimated 800,000 people killed in Rwanda's genocide and urged global action to end the bloodshed in Sudan's Dafur Region once and for all.

This is the second time in 10 years that Ghana is playing host to a sitting American President after Former President Bill Clinton visited on March 23, 1998.

Ceremonies to formally welcome and roll out the red carpet to President Bush would take place at Castle, Osu and seat of the Government, on Wednesday morning.

This would begin with the mounting of the Guard of Honour by 96 Officers of the Ghana Air Force, the traditional 21-gun salute and spectacular cultural performance by a troupe of traditional drummers and dancers.

President Bush, who is spending two nights in the country, would review the progress of US funded efforts to advance economic development and fight HIV-AIDS, malaria and other treatable diseases with President Kufuor.

Ghana and the US, the world's most advanced economy, are enjoying good bilateral relations under President Kufuor and President Bush. America's development assistance to the country in 2007 totalled more than 55.1 million dollars with programmes in small farmer competitiveness; health including HIV-AIDS, maternal and child health; education; democracy and governance.

Ghana's 547-million-dollar compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation is the most recent achievement in the US-Ghanaian development partnership.

President Bush has already been to Benin, Tanzania and Rwanda as part of the six-day official tour, the second and most likely the last to Africa in his two-term Presidency. Liberia is the other country he would be visiting on Thursday to wrap up the trip.

Washington sees President Kufuor and the Heads of State of the four other countries as a new generation of progressive African Leaders.

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