The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration-designate, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has appealed to Spain to use its influence and standing within the European Union (EU) to admonish member states to make good on their commitments under the Pillar I of the Valletta Agreement.
The agreement requires EU member states to support their African counterparts with resources to stem the tide of refugees from Africa to Europe.
She commended Spain on its commitment to treating migrants humanely by providing shelters for those who are stranded in Spanish territory and for adopting helpful policies towards the handling of illegal immigrants.
Ms Botchwey emphasised that a transformed Ghanaian economy capable of delivering jobs and economic opportunities to the youth would dissuade them from embarking on perilous journeys to Europe, especially with the government’s “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda.
She made the call when she received an 11-member delegation, led by the Spanish Deputy Foreign Minister, Madam Cristina Gallach Figureas, to Ghana to hold bilateral discussions last week.
The Foreign Minister-designate also applauded Spain for its current Presidency of the Sahel Alliance, which is supporting the G5 Sahel Group in the fight against terrorism and irregular migration with its related crimes such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling and also commended Spain for having the largest contingent of troops in the Sahel.
She updated the Spanish Deputy Minister on developments pertaining to ECOWAS’ role in the fight against terrorism, and added that at the just ended G5 Summit in N’Djamena, Ghana reiterated her determination to combat terrorism.
She also disclosed that joint military operations involving ECOWAS, G5 member states and the AU ha successfully curtailed the progress made by fundamentalists in the Sahel region.
“I entreated Spain and other EU member states to maintain their support for the African forces in the Sahel region so that the gains that have been made so far can be consolidated,” she said.
Ms Botchwey noted that relations between the two countries, dating back to the 1960s, have been characterised by the regular exchange of high-level visits and indicate that visits have enhanced cooperation between Ghana and Spain.
She recalled the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Accra in December, 2005 covering issues of mutual interest including political consultation and suggested a renewal of the pledge to maintain regular contacts possibly on a bi-annual basis.
She further indicated that Agreements on the fight against crime, labour, and migration as well as a MoU on exchange of prisoners would be ratified in the coming months.
Moving on, Ms Botchwey congratulated Spain for its very vibrant and thriving tourism sector, equipped with the latest logistics, technical know-how and efficient services and revealed that Ghana is open and willing to cooperate and learn from Spain.
To this end, she assured the Spain Deputy Minister that Ghana will ensure that the draft MoU submitted by the Spanish authorities for cooperation in the field of tourism between the two countries will receive the needed attention to further deepen the cooperation.
She acknowledged the EU’s contribution of €86.5million in emergency budget support to help Ghana in tackling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as for the donations made to Ridge Hospital and the Ghana Police service to help manage the negative effects of COVID-19.
He expressed the hope that Spain and the rest of the world will collaborate to win the battle against the pandemic further urging Spain to advocate for access to vaccines for developing countries.