Ayorkor Botchwey Visits Ghanaian Battalion at UNIFIL

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey visits Batalion in Lebanon

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has undertaken a courtesy call to the Ghanaian Battalion stationed at the United Nations Interim Force Headquarters in Lebanon (UNIFIL) during her four-day working visit to the country.

Ghana’s Contribuition to UNIFIL

Ghana, a long-standing contributor to UNIFIL, currently holds the distinction of being one of the largest contributing nations with over 850 troops, including an impressive 115 women peacekeepers, making it the largest contingent with the highest number of women peacekeepers among UNIFIL nations. This information was conveyed in a statement released by the Ministry on Friday.

The statement further highlighted that the Ghanaian contingent, present in Lebanon since 1978, has been actively involved in both operational and humanitarian activities. These activities encompass a diverse range, including patrols along the blue line, various social donations, health outreaches, and capacity-building initiatives in collaboration with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and other governmental institutions.

Commendation from Ayorkor Botchwey

During her visit, Colonel Kwarteng, the Commanding Officer of GhanaBatt 89, briefed Madam Ayorkor Botchwey. He also provided an overview of the unit’s ongoing operations. Despite recent incidents, the officers exhibited high spirits and morale, according to Colonel Kwarteng.

Expressing her heartfelt gratitude, Minister Botchwey commended the Ghana battalion for their dedicated service to the mission and encouraged them to maintain their commitment and sense of duty.

Meeting with Officials

As part of her visit, the minister held separate meetings with key Lebanese officials, including Mr. Maurice Sleem, the Minister of Defence, and Brigadier General Joseph Auon, the Chief of Defence Staff of Lebanon. Both officials spoke highly of the Ghana battalion’s professionalism and commitment.

Mr. Sleem and Brig. Gen Auon extended their appreciation to the Government of Ghana for its steadfast support, which dates back to 1978, and assured their continuous backing for the Ghana battalion.

Madam Botchwey’s meetings extended to various Lebanese figures, including Prime Minister Mr. Najib Mikati, Minister of Labour Mr. Mostafa Bayram, Mr. Elias Baysari, Head of General Security, and Mr. Tony Saliba, Head of State Security. These discussions covered the Ghana-Lebanon relations and the well-being of Ghanaian migrants.

Addressing challenges faced by Ghanaian economic migrants, the Minister proposed a reexamination of the guaranteed system to facilitate a more favorable environment. In response, Lebanese authorities and relevant government agencies expressed their willingness to collaborate with Ghanaian agencies and the Honorary Consul of Ghana in Lebanon to establish an agreement that ensures the welfare of Ghanaian employees.

Mutually beneficial Ghana-Lebanon relations

The Minister’s visit also included the Honorary Consulate of Ghana, where she commended Mr. Ali Samih Jaafar, the Honorary Consul, for his continuous support of Ghanaians in Lebanon. She expressed hope that his efforts would continue to draw more Lebanese businesses towards engaging with Ghana.

As the Minister’s visit underscores the strong and mutually beneficial Ghana-Lebanon relations, it also reaffirms Ghana’s commitment to peacekeeping efforts and promoting the welfare of its citizens abroad.

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