General News of Thursday, 26 July 2018
United States ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson has confirmed that 800 military personnel from America and other countries are in Ghana under the controversial Military Defense Agreement.
Speaking to media, Ambassador Jackson reiterated that the US has not established a military base in Ghana but that the troops are here for a training program.
“Indeed the agreement is enforced as you have seen we have not built a base here, we do have about 800 troops from the United States and other African countries for an exercise, that exercise includes a training by Ghanaians of Americans at the jungle warfare center and we are very pleased that Ghana remains the only country in Africa that is training US Forces, which really speaks to Ghana’s partnership with us in peace and security area,” he said.
Clarification was made by the Minister of Defense, Dominic Nitiwul, who said that the government had agreed to a facility to camp US soldiers in the country.
“It’s not a military base. We don’t even have enough space in the agreed area for them to put up big structures. It’s just around the airport area,” he stated, they will not be stationed here,” he said
Parliament last month approved the Ghana-US Military cooperation agreement, which seeks to give US forces access to some critical national installations for their exclusive use.
Parliament approved without the Minority in Parliament who opposed the deal.
With the agreement ratified, it means that the US troops will among other things be exempted from paying taxes on equipment brought to Ghana and they will use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free.
The troops and their equipment will also have unhindered access to the US forces and their equipment.
Although many Ghanaians have expressed resentment over the clauses of the agreement, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul has explained that the agreement was in the best interest of Ghana.
The Government has also consistently explained that it was only respecting the existing Status of Forces Agreement with the US signed since 1998 and reviewed in 2015, under the previous NDC administration.
But the NDC Minority has downplayed this argument, saying the agreement as existed in the past, did not have the same clauses like the current one that gives the US unlimited access to Ghana’s military facilities.