Accra to Serve as Transit Point for Flights

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The President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, has been in consultation with the United Nations secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to allow Accra to serve as a transit center for international flights that might be bringing in logistics, medicines and other relief items for the affected countries.

Accra is the capital of Ghana, but President Mahama said his consultation is in his capacity as chair of the regional body, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This is a  demonstration of how Ghana is prepared to help affected the countries.

He spoke on Monday September 15, when he paid a one-day solidarity visit with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Monrovia.

The ECOWAS boss also expressed disappointment over decisions by countries, especially those in the region, isolating Ebola affected countries by barring land, sea and air travels. He said these are not the best way to jointly fight the disease.

As the Ebola virus was wreaking havoc on Liberia, Sierra leone and Guinea, who are the worst hit countries, several countries, including those in the sub-region, closed their borders. Some of these countries that closed their land, Sea and air borders include Ivory Coast, Senegal and Kenya. Though some later reversed their decision, it was noted that their earlier decisions were not in line with African solidarity.

The Ghanaian President said isolating countries will further compound the precarious situation, especially trade and commerce, thereby seriously affecting the economies of these countries.

The Ghanaian leader informed the media gathering that there have been lots of international commitments to fight the disease but said turning these commitments into actuality was too slow.   He encouraged donor countries to fast-track their commitments, since they are intended to save lives in an emergency situation.

The ECOWAS Chair further  noted that his visit to Liberia was also intended to join the advocacy for more international concerted efforts in eradicating the virus out of the sub-region. He praised the courage and determination of the Liberian Government and its people in defeating the Ebola virus disease.  

He disclosed that he had  begun consultations with world and continental bodies as well as airlines that have stopped flying to Liberia and other affected countries to begin plans to re-engage the Liberian authorities in overturning their isolation as the affected countries have now put into place World Health Organization (WHO) recommended measures in order to stop the spread of the virus to other countries. 

Speaking earlier, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described Ghana as a sisterly country that has always been by Liberia during good and bad times. On behalf of the Liberian Government and people, she expressed appreciation for the role being played by Ghana and President Mahama, in his capacity as chairman of ECOWAS.

President Sirleaf hoped Liberians will continue to work together for the total eradication of the Ebola virus.

The Ghanaian President also made stopovers in Freetown, Sierra Leone and Conakry, Guinea with similar messages of solidarity in their respective fights against the Ebola virus disease.

President Mahama was met upon arrival by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai at the Roberts International Airport. They proceeded to Monrovia and joined President Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office for closed-door discussions before addressing the press.

The Ghanaian President was accompanied by his Health Minister, Dr. Kweku Agyeman; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey; Senior Advisor to the President, Alhaji Baba Kamara; and the Director of State Protocol, Ambassador Kwame Tenkorang-Asamoah.

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