Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister informs us about the closure of our Embassy in Serbia. I think it is a very delicate matter. I do not know if the current managers of our Black Stars were aware of this situation when they most recently confirmed the coach to continue with his engagement with our Black Stars.' The repercussions could be a bit bizarre for us.
So, perhaps, the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, without attempting to interfere in the affairs of the Ghana Football Association (GPA), should find space and time to engage our Football Association in this matter because it could be very embarrassing diplomatically to us.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister tells us that the driving force of the Ministry's policy is, indeed, economic diplomacy. Madam Speaker, that being the case, I find something a bit incongruous. We have given recognition to the Saharawi Arab Republic. At the same time, we are close associates with Algeria and Morocco. How do we balance this out? I know that it has a history; the recognition of Saharawi Arab Republic has a history. But in the unfolding events and given the current circumstances, where do we put our best foot?
Madam Speaker, while we are at this, I think events unfolding in Mali could be tragic. And I would want to take advantage of the presence of the Hon Minister in the House to inquire if the Ministry has started any moves by way of assisting our compatriots in Mali in the case of any cataclysmic events unfolding.
Madam Speaker, I thank you.
AIhaji Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC- Wa Central): Madam Speaker, l also rise to contribute to the Statement ably presented by the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on the new foreign policy initiatives and the need for us to take these initiatives to the frontiers of our foreign policy developments, so that in the future we can have Ghana, not just being a nation that reacts to international affairs but one that is actively involved in initiating policies that eventually will have a total effect in the World.
Madam Speaker, what the Hon Minister has done here is important and I would want to thank him first of all, for that. This is because it is important Parliament is abreast of our foreign policy direction. It is also important that we give blessing to this foreign policy direction because in the end, we want to see the people -of Ghana carried along the path on which Ghana is moving and to ensure, as we move along, the people who are the beneficiaries, know exactly where we are going.
Madam Speaker, let me start by the policy to open a Mission in Ankara. The Mission in Ankara is long overdue because of the strategic position of Turkey in the world and in the Middle East as well as in Asia
Madam Speaker, right now, as we speak, Turkey is the fastest-growing economy in Europe. And is the choicest tourism destination in the world. So, with an economy growing fastest in Europe and with its huge tourism potential, it is only logical that we should want to emulate them and to work along with them to ensure we get the benefits of co- operation and understanding between the two countries. Turkey is one country, historically, that has always played a major role in world affairs.
With the new alliance and re-alliance of the world bodies and the fact that international relations are taking new shape and the need for Ghana to strategically place herself in world affairs, it is important that we do not waste time at all and establish this Embassy in Turkey.
So what the Hon Minister has announced, is a very important decision taken by Cabinet and I will encourage them to strengthen it and ensure that that relationship stands and _is strengthened Even though it app ears, m my view, that the initial decision to have Ghana relate with them at that high level, may have been taken by Turkey because of the initial visit of the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul to Ghana and subsequently, the visit of many of their businessmen to Ghana -
Quite recently, just about a week and a half or two weeks ago, we had some Turkish businessmen who visited Ghana and had to meet Members of Parliament. This is because of our relations with the Turkish Parliament and the meeting was, I understand, very fruitful. So there had been a consistent effort by Turkey herself to have us as friends and to have a Mission opened here. So what we have done as a response, is good. But in future, it is important that we take note of these signs and take the early initiative even before these countries take the initiative.
But there is a strong initiative we have taken" in Guangzhou in China; that is a financial hub in China; a place where the world's factories are, where all the major, major factories exist in China and where business revolves round.
So the need for us to have a Consulate there is crucial and we appreciate what the Hon Minister has -done and we can only thank him for taking that initiative and bringing it to Cabinet for approval.
Madam Speaker, the last point I would want to raise is our relationship with Serbia. The fact that we recognise Kosovo and that has resulted in. Serbia severing her relations with us, is something that we have to show a lot of concern about. Ghana has always demonstrated that we would support the weaker side in international relations. We have been a champion in colonial tight; we have always been a champion in supporting weaker States to stand on their own. We have recognised Palestine and we have recognised Saharawi Arab Republic. All these have their attending consequences.
So our recognition of Serbia and the attendant consequence is not something new to Ghana and I will urge the Hon Minister to stand strong on that and work hard to ensure that we will gain twice- We will not "disrecognise" - if there is any word like that - Kosovo, but we will ensure that we go on to have friendship with Serbia as well.
Madam Speaker, with these few words, I would want to thank the Hon Minister again and urge Government to continue with these kinds of proactive foreign policy directives and initiatives to ensure that we are the best beneficiaries in our relations with other countries.