Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion. Mr Speaker, I want to commend the delegation to the 141st Assembly of the Inter- Parliamentary Union led by the Rt Hon Speaker, Prof. Aaron Micheal Oquaye.
Mr Speaker, the Report that has been presented is very detailed and it is exemplary. The Speaker has been admonishing Committees and delegations that travel abroad to present Reports to the House, so I believe that in this instance, the Rt Hon Speaker and the Leadership of the House - the delegation comprised the Hon Majority Leader, the Hon Minority Leader, the Hon Whips as well as other Members, have led by worthy example. It is important to highlight that all delegations that go abroad, especially to important meetings, should present comprehensive Reports to the House.
Mr Speaker, having said this I take note that this was a special Meeting to celebrate 130 years of the Inter- Parliamentary Union, and we must salute the organisation. It has really lived and stood the test of time. Mr Speaker, it is a living monument to inter-parliamentary diplomacy and multilateralism. In this era where multilateralism appears to be under threat where some countries think that they can go solo and pursue unilateralism, organisations such as the IPU must be commended for going strong.
Mr Speaker, I would want to highlight the host of the 141st Assembly, Serbia. Mr Speaker, clearly, Serbia has opened its doors to Africa, particularly, Ghana. I recall that they specially invited the Rt Hon Speaker earlier in the year, and it is not very common for a delegation led by the head of the Legislature, the Rt Hon Speaker, to be granted as many as 13 scholarships. This is what they did when the Rt Hon Speaker visited them and they did not end there they extended an invitation to the leadership of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Parliament. I was privileged to be there, and we were generous to add a few Hon Members -- I see Hon Patrick Boamah gesticulating. Mr Speaker, we added some Hon Members and at the
meeting in Serbia, it was clear that the Serbians want to renew the historic ties with Ghana which goes back to our first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. They showed us some very revealing manuscripts on how they supported the independence struggle when times were hard for Ghana. They were really there to support us and ideologically they share in our position. Mr Speaker, they were quick to remind us that they were one of the few European countries that never colonised any part of Africa, and for that matter the world. They share in our vision and ethos as a people.
Mr Speaker, what was most refreshing was their willingness to forgive us of the past; they were not too happy when in 2012, we recognised Kosovo rather. Mr Speaker, they urged us to add our voice to their lobbying efforts behind the scenes to have that recognition withdrawn in the face of new developments at the United Nations Security Council.
I must commend the government because a few days ago, I think on 12th November 2019, Ghana formally withdrew its recognition of Kosovo much to the delight of Serbia. These are matters such that when we have an ally or a friendly nation that is willing to collaborate and work with us strongly, we need to take it seriously. It is a gesture of goodwill and it helps to strengthen and solidify these relations.
Mr Speaker, having said this, I must also put on record that the Serbians have also extended an invitation to our Parliament that if we are available in March, they would love to see us there to monitor their general elections. They want us to join the friendly nations that would be monitoring their elections.
These are all signs that Serbia has really opened its doors to Ghana, and there is a renewed confidence in our relations.
Mr Speaker, I must commend the Rt Hon Speaker for securing the scholarships and for his gesture of donating US$500 each to the students. I am told that some more have been added.
Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I just want to draw attention to the communique from the IPU's 141st Assembly. I think the Belgrade Declaration is the most important matter. The Declaration is a very powerful declaration. I am particularly in awe of the second and third paragraphs, which expressed support for effective multilateral institutions and denounces in the third paragraph the non-compliance with upholding
international human rights law and conventions and treaties on climate change, trade, disarmament agreements and other violations of international law.
Mr Speaker, this is a very powerful communique. I urge all Hon Members of Parliament to pay attention to it so that our Parliament would be part of the forces that support multilateralism. This is because, when we come together, we can achieve more. The challenges the world faces -- climate change, poverty, underdevelopment, diseases and all of that -- cannot be fought by a few powerful countries or with solo efforts. We must come together to combat those challenges.
I am glad that a while ago, we discussed the Sustainable Development Goals and the committee that we are going to set up to carry out oversight. These are the efforts that we must promote.
Finally, I would want to commend the IPU Delegation for this Report. It is very comprehensive and insightful. It would certainly add to our repertoire of reference documents to guide us in future deliberations on these matters of international cooperation.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.