Ghana's President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged the Togolese Government and the opposition parties to be guided by the national interest, as they seek to find a lasting solution to the political impasse in that country.
President Akufo-Addo was speaking at the opening of a political dialogue between the Government of President Faure Gnassingbé and the Coalition of 14 Togolese opposition parties in Togo.
The dialogue, which was facilitated by President Akufo-Addo, impressed on the parties to accommodate divergent views and make compromises on strongly held opinions that fairly represented the interest of the ordinary people of Togo.
President Akufo-Addo was emphatic that the desire of the Togolese people for a better life in freedom and to be governed by the rule of law and principles of democracy should be the ultimate aim of Togo's political actors and that dialogue between the two opposing political actors was crucial in the determination of that country's future.
President Akufo-Addo urged them to exhibit quality leadership skills capable of arriving at solutions that would advance the interests of the Togolese people taking into consideration the overriding concern of participants in the dialogue - the national interest, juxtaposed with the self-respect of the Togolese people.
He said his responsibility and that of the facilitation team--Ghana's Minister for National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah; Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Charles Owiredu; Ghana's Ambassador to Togo, Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa; Ambassador-at-large, Dr Edward Mahama; and former Secretary to President Kufuor, D.K. Osei--was to assist in the process of finding a solution to the political impasse in Togo.
President Akufo-Addo commended the political actors in Togo for letting him play a part in search of political peace that was essentially Togolese.
Recounting the ties between Ghana and Togo, the Ghanaian President indicated that the links between Togo and Ghana were drawn from history, from geography, and from ethnic and familial ties.
"We have been always each other's keeper. At the very beginning of the independence of Ghana, when there were problems, many of the political activists in Ghana found refuge in Togo, and we have seen the same as happening that, wherever there are problems here (in Togo), people find refuge in Ghana," he said.
Therefore, he said, the interests of Ghanaians and of Ghana's political leaders in the peace, stability and freedom of the Togolese people was non- negotiable.
"I have come here with no solution, prescription or magic wand to impose or prescribe any solution for the resolution of the crisis that has gripped your country these last months. My task is a simple one--to help assist in the dialogue that you, the various political actors of this country, have agreed to," President Akufo-Addo stressed.
He added that the outcome of the dialogue was critical to the future of Togo so that peace, stability, consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, which is the demand of the Togolese people, and which, in fact, were the demands of the African peoples today, were realised here in Togo.
Prior to the holding of the dialogue, President Akufo-Addo had, on several occasions, over the last 7 months, met with the President of the Togolese Republic, His Excellency Faure Gnassingbé, and with all the leaders of the coalition of 14 political parties, all with the purpose of setting the conditions the holding of Monday's dialogue.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)