Ghana Government to recall Parliament to ratify 98, 2015 US military arrangements.
The Ghana government has said it plans to trigger a recall of Parliament to ratify the 1998 and the 2015 defence cooperation agreements the country registered with the US under different National Democratic Congress administrations.
After the Ghana Supreme Court ruling that ordered the agreement to sponsor the detainees from Guantanamo Bay on the behest of the US to Parliament for ratification, the government has stated the 1998 and 2015 agreements are basically unlawful.
"We intend to fix that defect by taking the 1998 and 2015 agreements to Parliament for Parliament to provide us ratification so that we'll continue to operate under these current arrangements we have until we've finished the processes for tripping the 2018 arrangements," the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, told Citi News.
He clarified that the ratification of those previous deals is to make sure that there's a legal framework, directing the cooperation of the US and Ghanaian armies, as it works to implement the controversial 2018 defence alliance.
Mr. Hamid said there are two steps towards creating the arrangement functional.
"First of all, both countries have to swap what the diplomats call a notice verbal. It's these notice verbal’s which will contribute to the arrangement. Even past the note verbal’s, both nations have to set up execution committees that will direct the implementation and operation of the agreement."
The present arrangement directing the US-Ghana military relations is the 2015 agreement, and Mr. Hamid said "that's what we will continue to function till we've completed processes for triggering the 2018 agreement."
He noted that exercises are still being undertaken as part of the 2015 deal such as the surgery Obangame, a naval alliance with Gulf of Guinea and West African countries to counter sea-based illegal action.
"In another two or three months, there'll be another joining exercises involving the Ghana Army and the US Army. That also has been done under the 2015 agreements. We're really at risk of not having these exercises"
He this said "if it means doing this, we would need to remember Parliament. I believe that is what we need to do so that all structures we have now with US Army is legalized whilst we wait for the coming into effect of this 2018 arrangement."
Ghana Parliament last Friday approved the Ghana-US Military cooperation agreement, which attempts to provide US forces access to a key national installation for their private use.
The pact, which has sparked widespread controversy, was approved with no Minority in Parliament that were opposed to it.
Ghana Cabinet had agreed to offer the US' military somewhere close to the Kotoka International Airport and give them unhindered access to a few vital installations after a Memorandum of Understanding between the government of Ghana and the US government.
The MoU between both government was laid before Parliament last Tuesday recommending to Parliament to ratify the agreement, but it had been rejected by the opposition.
With the agreement ratified, it means that the US military will among other things be exempted from paying taxes on equipment which are attracted to Ghana in addition to utilize Ghana's radio spectrum at no cost.
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 this agreement, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, stated the arrangement is in the best interest of Ghana.
The Ghana Government has always explained that it was just respecting the present Status of Forces Agreement with the US signed since 1998 and examined in 2015, under the preceding NDC administration.