Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni has denied media reports that the Ghana Embassy in Abidjan has been closed.
He said circumstances at the embassy had been exaggerated and misreported.
The New Statesman newspaper Wednesday reported that “the entire staff of Ghana’s embassy in Abidjan, including the Ambassador, Col E.K.T. Donkor (rtd), have been evacuated to Ghana and the mission closed down.”
”This evacuation, according to embassy sources, was forced by perceived or real threats to the lives of the staff of the embassy after Laurent Gbagbo’s arrest and Alassane Ouattara taking full charge as the legitimately elected president of Cote d’Ivoire,” the paper added.
The paper quotes an unnamed diplomatic source in Abidjan as saying the decision by Accra to evacuate its staff was “strange and paradoxical and probably fed by paranoia and guilt.”
The pro-opposition newspaper believes “The writing was on the wall as soon as President J.E.A Mills of Ghana uttered the controversial dzi wo fie asem words which betrayed the regional body, ECOWAS, and, by extension, the wish of the majority of Ivorians to have their electoral mandate respected by the defeated incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo.”
Foreign Minister Mumuni however accused the paper of exaggerating a routine action by the government.
He told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show sit-in host Bernard Nasara Saibu that in the immediate aftermath of Mr Gbagbo’s arrest, the government, after an assessment of the security situation in that country came to the conclusion that it was not safe to keep non-essential embassy staff in Abidjan. In view of this, non-essential staff were evacuated from that country.
“But to the best of my knowledge and understanding and belief, [the embassy] is open and functioning even though at a low profile,” he stressed.
The minister is not in position to confirm if the Ambassador was flown to Accra Monday except to say that Col. Donkor (rtd) is invited routinely to Ghana to brief the president on the situation in the Ivory Coast.
Dispelling suggestions that there is diplomatic tension between Ghana and her western neighbour as a result of government’s perceived tacit support for deposed former president Gbagbo, the minister said relations between the two countries were as strong as ever.
“Ghana and Ivory Coast have full diplomatic relations; we are co-operating as leading members of ECOWAS, [and] Ghana is committed to the peace process in La Cote d’Ivoire,” he stated.
Alhaji Mumuni is not also able to tell if president Mills has called Alassane Ouattara, to congratulate him on his assumption of office after the capture of Mr Gbagbo who refused to hand over power after losing elections in November last year.
“I wouldn’t be able to say precisely, whether he (President Mills) did (called Ouattara) or not but I do know certainly that for the longest while, he had maintained quiet diplomacy and that he had engaged both Mr Alassane Ouattara and president Gbagbo in the past,” he emphasized.
Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana