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Gitmo Two: US backtracks cost-sharing comment

Source: citifmonline.com

The Public Affairs Counselor of the US Embassy in Ghana, has backtracked on his assertion that Ghana and the US will be sharing the cost for the upkeep and security of the two former Guantanamo detainees repatriated from the US to seek refuge in Ghana.

The assertion made on TV3’s Hot Issues programme yet to be aired on Saturday, came as a shock to many as it contradicted the Government of Ghana’s earlier claim, that Ghana will not commit any financial resources for the upkeep of the two.

“It’s a shared expense…we are contributing some for the monitoring and upkeep of the individuals. We are contributing some money towards that and the government of Ghana is making all the arrangements and taking care of them,” he said.

When the Host of the progamme, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. probed further on whether government was using tax payers’ money to take care of the former Guantanamo inmates, Mr. Fennel said “I think so” saying “is that so difficult to imagine that Ghana would pay for something that is happening in Ghana?”

“I think it’s laudable and we should be proud of Ghana,” he added. Mr. Fennel also said the security of the former detainees is also “a shared cost.” “The government of Ghana under the constitution is responsible for the security of everything in Ghana so they are keeping track at it, they are better at it, they are smart and we think they are doing an excellent job,” he noted.

But in what appears to be a sudden U-turn that even makes the matter murkier, Mr. Fennell told Bernard Avle on the Citi Breakfast Show on Friday, that his comments were misunderstood.

He thus apologized for the previous comment.

“Just to clarify the cost issue; I need to say that the US is bearing the cost of contributing to everything that is necessary for the upkeep of the detainees. And the government of Ghana is in charge of the infrastructure under their command and their personnel are in charge of the monitoring. And so if there is any payment necessary, we are in fact the ones providing that support so that Ghana does not bear additional cost as a result of doing this. So if I caused any confusion with my prior statement, I apologize. In fact, the statements that I have heard from the Deputy Information Minister Felix Ofosu Kwakye, are absolutely correct so I apologize if I caused any confusion by muddying the issue.”

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