A Deputy Minister for Information, James Agyenim-Boateng, has defended President Mills’ decision not to commit troops to La Cote d’Ivoire to fight in a “needless war” because it will not be in the interest of Ghana. According to him, the President’s decision was informed by present conditions of the country’s Armed Forces. President John Evans Atta Mills during an interaction with journalists at the Osu Castle on Friday, January 7, indicated that he would not contribute soldiers to address the political stalemate in Cote D’Ivoire. According to him, sending troops to the neighbouring West African country to support a war targeted at unseating the incumbent Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo is not his priority. Speaking in an interview on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo Morning show, Mr. Agyenim-Boateng said Ghana will not be able to contribute soldiers to Ivory Coast because the strength of its soldiers has been overstretched. He said considering the number of soldiers already sent out on various missions across the continent, Ghana would not be able to contribute anymore soldiers to Ivory Coast. According to him, Ghana has already contributed 500 troops in Ivory Coast who are helping in the UN peace keeping operations. “When ECOWAS leaders met in Nigeria and took the decision to go by way of military action, Ghana’s position that President Mills said was that, Ghana cannot contribute troops for that mission in Ivory Coast. In any case, if you check, we have 500 Ghanaian troops in Ivory Coast already,” he said. He revealed that UN peacekeepers, who are currently protecting the hotel where Alassane Ouattara is lodging, are Ghanaians soldiers. “What majority of Ghanaians do not know is that the UN peacekeepers who are currently guarding the hotel where Alassane Ouattara is lodging in Abidjan are Ghanaian soldiers so if you look at Ghanaian soldiers in Lebanon, Congo among others, and on Observer Missions, the strength of our soldiers is over-stretched so that informed what the president said, that when he consulted his Military High command, it became obvious that Ghana cannot contribute troops to this mission in Ivory Coast,” he noted. He said Ghana has been very consistent with its position that we cannot contribute any troops to any country anymore. “It is a very consistent position, not long ago, the American government made a request on Ghana to contribute troops to Somalia to check the security situation there and protect them with the condition of providing all the logistics and equipment but after consultation with the Military High Command, it became clear that given the fact that our troops are on missions abroad, our strength is over-stretched, Ghana cannot contribute any troops; so this is something that is consistent,” he added. He further asked if any country among the 16 member states that form the ECOWAS who took the decision to resort to military intervention has contributed any troops yet. “I think that in all of this, we should ask ourselves that since we heard that the ECOWAS is resorting to military intervention till now, how many countries out of the 16 member states have contributed troops? Everybody was looking in the direction of Ghana but the case is, with our military resources and personnel being overstretched, it is obvious we can’t contribute,” he noted.
Source: Beatrice Adepa Frempong/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana