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Government to seek clarity on new US protocol visa rules

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will seek clarity from the US government on its latest directive on the allocation of US visas to top Ghanaian officials on non-official visits, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the sector minister has said.

According to her, the government will take a decision on the matter after it gets the full facts from the US Embassy.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, at a meeting with Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, said former presidents and parliamentarians would be required to make a personal appearance at the Embassy to request visas if they are going on personal travels.

“Now if you are traveling for tourism or business that is not related to government business, you will need to make a personal appearance. I want to reiterate, for official travel, protocol officers pass the passports for visa applications through the foreign ministry and the foreign ministry’s protocol officers bring it to us. But for personal travel, every person is required to make a personal appearance, even former presidents of Ghana have to come in for personal appearance,” he said.

But the Foreign Affairs Minister said she will be seeking clarification on the announcement.

“Somebody of a level of the president or a former president has reached the point where everybody knows him or her and therefore, some of these things are done away with. I don’t think that it goes all the way to that level, but I still have to find out. But when it comes to Members of Parliament yes they may be required to [do so].”

She however said Ghana may be forced to equally introduce such a measure against ex-US officials after she has been fully briefed on the matter.

“If it is done to you, also, you do the same. We need to engage them to find out what exactly has necessitated this.”

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