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Visa restrictions: Don’t stampede Ghana to do what is not done – Antwi-Danso

An International Relations Expect says the United States should not intimidate Ghana into providing travel documents of Ghanaians living in that country who have been given deportation orders.

The US, Vladimir Antwi-Danso said, is allowed to request for any information they require regarding the issue but cannot through threats, force government to act in accordance with their whims.

“Every country has the right to declare who enters and who doesn’t and if Americans are asking some people to leave their country whether on persona non-grata basis or on any other criminal charges, they have that right.

“But government does not have to be stampeded into just issuing documents to any other person who purports to be a Ghanaian or who someone has said is a Ghanaian.

“It looks as though the US government is trying to stampede the Ghana government into doing what is normally not done in international diplomacy where consular services are concerned,” Dr Antwi-Danso said on Joy FM’s Top Story.

The US government on January 31 announced visa sanctions on Ghana. The sanctions which take effect from Monday, February 4 according to the US Department of Homeland Security, has become necessary because Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its 7,000 nationals ordered out of their country.

The US government said it has since July 2016 engaged with government of Ghana in both Washington, DC and Accra on this matter but the needed results have not been achieved.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, consequently ordered the consular officers in Ghana to start implementing visa restrictions on certain categories of visa applicants.

But the Ghana government says allegations of non-cooperation by the US government over the deportation of some Ghanaians leading to visa sanction on Ghana are unfounded. 

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the country has always cooperated and engaged the US authorities in the processing and removal of Ghanaians from the US.

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In a statement released on Friday, the Ministry said it has noted, “with concern and disappointment the decision of the US to implement visa sanctions on Ghana for alleged lack of adequate cooperation in accepting Ghanaian nationals who have been ordered to be removed from the US.”

It said, “As is the requirement and in accordance with international law, the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC undertakes identification and verification processes to ensure that all persons earmarked for deportation to Ghana are bonafide citizens of Ghana.” 

In response to the US’ warning that the ban, which affects Ghanaian parliamentarians, members of the executive and their families will be extended if government does not cooperate, Dr Antwi-Danso said that is unacceptable.

The Dean of Academic Affairs at Ghana Armed Forces Command Staff College (GAFCSC) bemoaned the attempt to force Ghana to comply through threats.

“The threats were unnecessary, very uncalled for. We needed to jaw-jaw. Since 2016 the government of Ghana has made it clear that there are a lot of things to be sorted out before they could issue documents.

“And they have started issuing documents to those who have gone through the mill so why the threats,” he queried.

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