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US Ambassador surprised at GITMO 2 refugee status

Robert Potter Jackson
Robert Porter Jackson

United States Ambassador Robert Porter Jackson has expressed surprise at the granting of refugee status to the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees in Ghana.

According to him, he got wind of the new status of the two Yemenis last week when the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, announced it in Parliament.

In apprising Parliament Last Wednesday of government’s position on Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, Ms Botchwey said the deal brokered by the John Mahama-led government made the Asians refugees.

She pointed out that no exit arrangements were made after the expiry of the stay of the terrorist suspects.

But addressing some journalists in Tamale on Monday, US Ambassador said his government had paid for all the expenses of the two – as part of the agreement – for the their two-year asylum in Ghana.

‘Fundamental misunderstanding’

He said Ghana was going to keep the former GTMO detainees for only two years within which period they wil be integrated.

“First of all, I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the agreement.”

Ambassador Jackson said the US fulfilled its part of the deal by paying for the daily stipend and accommodation of the two the entire two years they stayed in Ghana.

“We did pay for their living expenses for two years,” he said, “but that stopped on January 6 of this year and I did not know until this week that they have been granted refugee status.”

He added: “That came to as much of a surprise to me”.

Next decision is Ghana’s to take…

The deal was supposed to keep the suspects from January 6, 2016 to January 6, 2018.

But the US Ambassador observed that the new status gives the ‘refugees’ some rights.

“If the government of Ghana wishes to relocate the two to their country, they need to discuss that with the two refugees at international law.

“We have no role in that and no objection to it.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana

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