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General News of Saturday, 17 January 2009

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Veep was not invited to Obama Inauguration

Vice President John Dramani Mahama is not making the trip to the inauguration of President-Elect of the US, Barack Obama because he was simply not invited.

According to Associated Press report, "...Obama's inauguration next week will be a landmark event in world history, but don't look for any foreign leaders in the crowds expected to throng the ceremony. They're not invited".

Mahama claimed he declined to make the trip because the new National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government was still in its teething stages and his presence was required to assist President John Atta Mills in setting up the new government as soon as possible. read more

However, the US State Department last week informed all foreign embassies in Washington that, in keeping with past practice, their ambassadors and spouses can come to the event to represent their countries. Officials from their capitals, however, must stay home.

''These invitations are only for the chiefs of diplomatic missions and their spouses and are not transferable,'' Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote in a diplomatic note sent to the embassies on Jan. 6.

An earlier note, sent by Rice to the embassies on Nov. 24, says the exclusion of foreign leaders and top government officials is customary for U.S. presidential inaugurations. ''As in the past, foreign delegations will not be invited to Washington for this occasion,'' it said.

Copies of both notes were obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.

Officials said foreign leaders are traditionally discouraged from attending inaugurations due to enormous crowds and security concerns.

Foreign ambassadors and their spouses are invited to sit in reserved seats at the Capitol for Obama's swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday and in a reviewing stand across the street from the White House for the inaugural parade. They are also invited to attend a diplomatic luncheon and the official New England inaugural ball to be held at Union Station.