Status of Ghana-U.S. military deal uncertain; legislators fail to reach consensus

Government is set to make a second attempt to lay the military cooperation agreement between Ghana and the United States in Parliament today.

The controversial deal is heading to the House on Friday amidst conflicting reports on whether legislators on the Defence and Interior Committee have reached a consensus on points of concern.

The Cabinet-approved agreement failed to reach the House on Thursday after members of the Defence and Interior Committee disagreed on some aspects of the agreement.

The Speaker, Prof Mike Oquaye then ruled against the laying of the report in the House and charged al 18 members of the Committee to resolve their differences before presenting it again for debate and voting.

The agreement, among other things, will allow the U.S. government to have access to Ghanaian military facilities and also grant them widespread tax exemptions.

Vice Chairman of the Committee, Collins Owusu Amankwaah, says there is now such a consensus from the two divides of the House — the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“As it stands now, there is consensus on the report except that few a concerns were raised,” he told Joy News on Thursday evening.

He said some committee members on the Minority NDC side have agreed for the deal to be laid in Parliament.

-Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu

However, the Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, doubts Mr Owusu-Amankwah’s claim.

“It is impossible. Impossible. But let’s see. We are not convinced as a Minority and we will not support it,” he countered on Newsnite on Joy FM.

The Constitution authorises the President to enter into treaties, agreements or conventions on behalf of Ghana, however, they must be ratified into law.

For the agreement to be ratified it must be supported by the votes of more than half of all 275 Members of Parliament.

Controversy

The Minority in Parliament has vowed to do everything possible to block the agreement on grounds that Ghana will surrender her sovereignty under the terms of the deal.

There is also a fierce public opposition to the deal over fears Ghana could become a target for enemies of U.S. interests.

A clause in the agreement granting U.S. Military Contractors unimpeded access has been a major source of concern for security experts.

Source: Ghana | George Nyavor | george.nyavor@myjoyonline.com

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