Accra (AFP) – Ghana will not sign an agreement with Washington to set up a military base, President Nana Akufo-Addo said on Thursday.
The president confirmed in a television address that the two countries would ink a defence cooperation agreement, but was emphatic that “Ghana has not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America”.
His comments come after hundreds of people took to the streets of Accra, Ghana’s capital, last Wednesday to protest against a controversial military deal with Washington which was passed by parliament last week.
The protesters have served notice they will take the demonstration to other parts of the country if the president signs the deal.
Critics say the agreement undermines the country’s sovereignty.
Ghana and the US are working to forge closer ties between their armed forces but both have denied rumours that Washington is planning to set up military bases in the West African nation.
“The United States of America has not made any request for such consideration and, consistent with our established foreign policy, we will not consider any such request,” he said.
“I will never be the president that will compromise or sell the sovereignty of our country. I respect deeply the memory of the great patriots whose sacrifice and toil brought about our independence and freedom,” Akufo-Addo assured Ghanaians.
According to the president, who said he was outraged by the position of the main opposition National Democratic Congress, the agreement will benefit not only Ghana, but the West African sub-region.
“In consideration of the realities of our circumstances and the challenges to peace in our region in our time, we have deemed it prudent to continue the Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America.
“It will help enhance our defence capability, and offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region,” Akufo-Addo added.
In the past decade, the United States has expanded its military presence in Africa, ostensibly to stop the spread of Islamist extremism by groups such as Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al Shabab on the continent.
Ghana, a major producer of gold and cocoa, prides itself as being a beacon of stability in a region blighted by coups, dictators and corruption.