Ghana Foreign Minister holds bilateral talks with Greece counterpart

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Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (left) and Mr Nikos Dendias
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (left) and Mr Nikos Dendias

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has held bilateral talks on issues of mutual interest with her Greece counterpart, Mr Nikos Dendias in Accra.

The visit, which was Mr Dendias’ second to Ghana, was aimed at strengthening the bilateral relations that exist between Accra and Athens.

At the meeting, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey expressed gratitude to Greece for donating 150,000 vaccines to Ghana in November 2021 during Mr Dendias’ maiden visit to Accra.

She recalled that during that visit the duo held good talks on bilateral and multilateral matters.

Touching on political consultations and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) that were signed during Mr Dendias’ first visit, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said the MoUs, which covers the areas of Youth and Sports, Culture and Defence, were now before Ghana’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for his advice before ratification.

She said going forward, they would also be looking at generally how to sign some MoUs in the areas of trade and investment because of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose Headquarters sits in Ghana.

“…. we want to see your business people, your private sector use Ghana as a stepping stone into the continent. Already we have started trading under the AfCFTA.”

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey hailed Mr Dendias for being an advocate for both Africa and Ghana at the European Union (EU) level.

She noted that it was not about the Mediterranean or the Atlantic Ocean that divide continents but actually, they should see it as bridge; adding that Africa presents hope to the rest of the world.

Concerning maritime issues such as piracy on the Gulf of Guinea, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said it was very important that Ghana collaborates and cooperates with countries such as Greece, which especially had the biggest maritime fleets.

“We have assumed the Chairmanship of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, which is going to go through restructuring and we will be working closing if the opportunity comes with your country, with the European Union in making sure that we end all these issues which are negative for maritime business on the Gulf of Guinea,” she stated. “So, we will be working closely with you.”

With regard to Greece’s bid for a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said Ghana was supporting Greece’s bid.

“In that respect you can be assured of Ghana’s support and we hope that you would be there because we know that when you are there, you would be speaking for Africa and we will be doing things together,” Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said.
“But while we are there (at the UNSC) also, please we are there this whole year, do not haste to let us know if there are issues that you want Ghana’s support for and we will gladly look at it.”

On his part, Mr Dendias extended an official invitation to his Ghanaian counterpart to visit Athens.

Mr Dendias said prior to holding the bilateral meeting with Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, he visited the Saint Nicholas School in Accra, which was funded by Greek charities and Greek companies which were also active in Ghana.

“And I made a promise to myself and to my family that I would be coming to Ghana once per year.”

He lauded Ghana for having a solid commitment to democracy, respect for human rights and the promotion of peace.
He said Greece was happy that Ghana was a member of the UN Security Council (2022 – 2023).

Mr Dendias appealed to Madam Ayorkor Botchwey for Ghana’s kind support towards Greece’s effort to be elected as a non-permanent member in the UN Security Council in 2025-26.

He reiterated that the vote takes place in 2024, but having an early commitment by a country as important as Ghana, member of the African Union, member of the ECOWAS, was of huge importance for Greece.

He said Greece was interested in working with Ghana for security in the Gulf of Guinea; adding that Greece had the biggest maritime fleet in the world.

He highlighted the presence of Greek business in Ghana, and that one of the very important Greek companies, Mytilinaios, was already in Ghana doing business.

Mr Dendias said they would like to promote Greek business and Greek investments in Ghana; saying “We are looking forward to organising a forum for that. Ι think that this is also important for us”.

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