Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has revealed that Ghana did not have any explicit exit plan with the United States of America, with regards to hosting the ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees in the country.
This means the two, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, and their families become the responsibility of Ghana, she told Parliament on Wednesday.
They were in detention for 14 years after being linked with terrorist group Al-Qaeda and later controversially brought to Ghana following agreement with the US government under the country’s former leader, John Mahama early 2016.
The two-year bilateral cooperation resettlement, which was ratified by Parliament in 2017 after the Supreme Court declared the initial agreement as unconstitutional, expired on January 6, 2018.
A meeting with the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson confirmed to the government on January 10 that their stay in Ghana has indeed expired, the Foreign Affairs Minister said.
“It must be noted that no exit arrangement were originally discussed, between the two governments to end the bilateral arrangement at the time of negotiation,” Ayorkor Botchwey told legislators.
“The US has also been clear in our discussions that per the agreement, returning them to the United States is not an option open to discussion or negotiation,” she added.
“He confirmed that US financial support and obligation in respect of the agreement, has ended following its expiration.”
She explained, “This means that all obligations relating to the two suspects have now become the responsibility of Ghana.”
The onus therefore lies on Ghana’s government to facilitate their integration into the Ghanaian society, she noted.
“Whilst the United States obligation ends after two years, Ghana’s obligation continues even after that,” the Foreign Minister underscored.
However, the minister said, the US government agreed in the January 10 meeting that the continuous cooperation in terms of security and mutual exchange of information and intelligence of the activities of the two and all their associates would still be considered as essential.
Nonetheless, the minister said the two ext-detainees “so far are reported to be of good behaviour” .
By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana