A joint Ghana and Ivory Coast task force will launch an investigation soon into cross border attacks on military installations in Ivory Coast, according to Chris Kpodo, Ghana’s deputy foreign minister.
“We want to harness our joint efforts to look at these, to look at these developments seriously and see how together as two countries [with] good relations, to see how we can get over this because we have a strong stake in peace in Ivory Coast, and we will not do anything to harm it,” said Kpodo.
“We will not allow our territory or the hospitality we offer to the Ivorian refugees here to constitute an opportunity or a fertile ground for them to subvert their own country,” he said.
Last week, Ivory Coast closed its border with Ghana after gunmen reportedly attacked security posts in the town of Noe, near the Ghanaian border. The Ivorian administration blames supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo, including those living in Ghana, as the perpetrators of the attack.
Kpodo said his country wants to ensure peace and stability in Ivory Coast.
“We have always insisted on our shared commitment to peace and security between our two countries,” he said. “And we have also underscored our disposition to assist building peace and maintaining peace in Ivory Coast.”
He said Ghana wants to intensify security cooperation with its neighbor to ensure regional stability.
The two neighbors have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that enables their security agencies to cooperate to prevent cross border attacks.
“We want to intensify collaboration within the frame work of this MOU and see how we can investigate this,” said Kpodo. “We want our security agencies to be more proactive, to collaborate through frequent exchange of information and see how we can control, the cross border movements.”
The two countries share strong diplomatic relations. Some analysts have warned the cross border attacks could weaken those relations between Accra and Yamoussoukro, but, Kpodo disagrees.
“Our relations are the same,” he said. “We are both committed that we should do everything not to harm the relations we have between us,” he said.
Kpodo called on Ivory Coast to continue with efforts at reconciliation following post-election violence that observers say divided the country.
“We will like to encourage the Ivorian government to pursue their reconciliation efforts, which will enable the Ivorians living outside to muster courage and confidence to return to their own country with restoring peace and security,” he said.
Ghana, Ivory Coast and the U.N. High Commission for Refugees have signed an agreement for the voluntary repatriation of refugees to Ivory Coast, according to Kpodo.