The United States Embassy in Ghana has denied reports that the US government is planning to establish a military base in Ghana.
It said it is only planning joint security exercises with Ghana, which will require that US military personnel are allowed access to Ghana’s military facilities.Ghanaians have expressed shock over a confidential document indicating that cabinet had approved a Memorandum of Understanding for defence cooperation with the United States of America.
As part of the agreement, the US will among other things, be exempted from paying tax on equipment to be brought into Ghana and will also be given the opportunity to set up a telecommunication service on a radio spectrum given to them for free by the government.
But the Embassy, in a statement copied to citifmonline.com said, “the United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana.”
While urging concerned persons to direct their concerns and queries on the matter to the government of Ghana, the Embassy said Ghana and the US had an existing Status of Forces Agreement, an agreement between a host country and a foreign nation stationing military forces in that country, which has been in existence for the past 20 years.
“The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States of Americ and the Republic of Ghana is approximately 20 years old. It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance,” the statement said.
“This year, the United States of America is investing over $20 million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S forces – as it did in 2017. The United States and Ghana are planning joint security exercises in 2018, which require access to Ghanaian bases by US participants and those from other nationals when included,” it added.
Ghana’s Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has said that the proposed land to be given out for the purpose of the US military’s use is close to the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
He added that they do not seek to build a military base as being reported in the media.
In a Citi News interview, he said, “soldiers who will be operating here are less than 200 and they will not be stationed here, they will come and go. 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,”
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonliene.com/Ghana