GHANA TO CONTRIBUTE 850 TROOPS TO SOUTH SUDAN PEACEKEEPING FORCE
ACCRA, Jan 15 (BERNAMA-NNN- GNA) President John Dramani Mahama has announced Ghana will contribute 850 troops to South Sudan to help restore peace and stability to the country in response to a request from United Nations secretary-general ban Ki-moon.
The president, who announced the deployment of the Ghanaian battalion when Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr Tedros A. Ghebreyesus called on him at his office here Tuesday, indicated that the National Security Council had met on Monday to ratify the troop deployment.
The Ethiopian minister, who discussed issues of common interest and the situation in South Sudan with Mahama, was accompanied by Ghana's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hannah Tetteh, Ghana's Ambassador to Ethiopia Francis Yankey and a 10-member Ethiopian delegation.
Mahama said a decision had been taken to mobilise the 330rd Ghana Battalion currently on peacekeeping duties in Cote d'Ivoire to South Sudan but upon a request from the UN for a fully-fledged battalion, 520 fresh troops and equipment were being mobilised to complement the 330 troops.
"As Ethiopia continues to teleguide the peace process (in South Sudan), we hope that normalcy will return to that country," he said and lauded Ethiopia for the initiative to help restore peace to South Sudan.
President Mahama also reiterated the need for Africa to embark on infrastructural projects that would facilitate the integration agenda, stressing the need for the creation of free trade areas to boost intra-African trade.
Dr.Tedros lauded Ghana for its global peacekeeping missions and indicated that when the Sudan conflict started, Ethiopia proposed a cessation of hostilities, the commencement of political dialogue and the provision of access to facilitate humanitarian efforts.
"The two parties are still meeting in Addis Ababa and they have agreed on a cessation of hostilities and the release of detainees," he said.