President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has received the Medal of the Republic of Serbia, that country’s highest state award.
He was decorated by President Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia at the seat of the Serbian Presidency in Belgrade.
The citation accompanying the award said President Akufo-Addo was recognised “for exceptional merits in developing and strengthening co-operation and friendly relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Ghana”.
President Akufo-Addo was recognised by a decree by the President of Serbia on the sidelines of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Belgrade.
At the plenary session of the conference, President Akufo-Addo said since the days of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, one of the five founding fathers of NAM, the country had remained a faithful adherent of its principles, which include respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in the domestic affairs of states and non-aggression against states.
“We believe that the strength of this movement is determined not just by its numbers but, more significantly, the attachment to the principles that founded it,” he said.
The President recounted the words of Dr. Nkrumah at the 1961 conference of the movement in Belgrade, in which he bemoaned the hesitance of the world’s superpowers to disarm and said: “60 years later, the great powers have not disarmed, neither has the threat of nuclear war receded.”
“They are still as powerful as they were then, and this has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unsavoury politics of vaccine nationalism we are currently witnessing,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo also bemoaned the fact that member states of NAM had become subject to the benevolence of powerful countries which gave out hoarded supplies at their own pace, not necessarily in tandem with realities.
According to him, the need for self-reliance in the global South was as important as positive neutralism was in the era of the Cold War, adding that the impact of the pandemic on their populations had been severe.
That, he said, required that member countries stood shoulder-to-shoulder as they prepared better for future pandemics.
“We must not miss the opportunity to take far-reaching decisions for a more equitable and balanced world based on the principle of the equality of sovereign states. We should continue to work towards the global objectives of peace, development and inter-dependence,” the President said.
He reiterated Ghana’s belief that NAM was as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century in protecting the interests of the developing world.
“There will be challenges, but in working hand-in-hand, we can move ahead together and, indeed, much farther, more so when, through our cooperation and solidarity, we achieve the restructuring of the global financial system to facilitate the rapid development of our economies.
“The next 60 years of our movement must mark its empowerment to meet the wishes and aspirations of our peoples for development, dignity and diversity,” President Akufo-Addo said.