President John Evans Atta Mills has on his own behalf and that of the Government and the people of Ghana sent a special message of congratulations to former President Jerry John Rawlings on his appointment as AU High Representative to Somalia.

A statement issued by John Tia Akologu, Minister for Information, said the President recognized that the decision of African Leaders to settle on Ghana’s former president as the one to facilitate peace in Africa’s most difficult and sophisticated conflict zone is “a testimony of President Rawlings’ mettle and status on the continent.”

“Most importantly, his appointment has brought immense honour and pride to the Government and people of Ghana. We have no doubt that President Rawlings will be successful in bringing back hope, security and progress to our brothers and sisters in Somalia”, the statement added.

President Mills assured the former president and Founder of the ruling NDC of Government’s full support in his new role. He also urged all Ghanaians to pray for God’s special direction and protection in this challenging assignment.

It will be recalled that the Chairperson of the AU Commission, His Excellency Jean Ping, in a statement on Friday announced the appointment of President Rawlings as the Commission’s High Representative in Somalia. The statement said the appointment is a follow-up to decisions taken on the report of the Peace and Security Council of the AU. It is also a follow-up to the decision on the state of Peace and Security in Africa adopted by the Assembly of the Union at its 15th ordinary session in Kampala.

As the AU Representative, Rawlings would undertake advocacy to further mobilise the continent and the rest of the international community to the quest for peace, security and reconciliation in Somalia.

“He will work in close coordination with the countries of the region, the UN, including the Security Council and its members, the EU, the league of Arab states, the OIC and other bilateral and multilateral partners,” it stated.

The AU chairperson, therefore, urged the Somali parties and other AU partners to extend their full cooperation to Rawlings to enable him accomplish his mission.

Ping also urged the UN Security Council to play a role commensurate with the gravity of the situation in Somalia as well as the threat it posed to regional peace and stability and to international security. “Nowhere else in the world has the urgency to translate into reality the responsibility to protect presented itself more acutely than Somalia,’’ he said.

Former President J. J. Rawlings was the first president of Ghana’s fourth republic, serving two consecutive terms from 1993 to 2000. Prior to that, he was the head of state of Ghana from 1981 to 1992. A former military officer, Rawlings had an earlier stint as head of state in 1979.

Source: Minister for Information
[October 10, 2010]