The Office of the President has dismissed the claim that its Director, Ambassador Ahmed Hassan was denied a handshake at a high profile meeting in the United States.
A statement by the Director’s Aide, Joseph Adjei-Banin said the video that fuelled the rumour was badly misinterpreted, leading to suggestions the former Ambassador goofed at the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is reported to have refused to shake Mr Ahmed’s hand on stage at the gathering addressed by president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The video has been widely shared on social media, with sections of Ghanaians suggesting the Director of Protocol lacks the ethics required of a protocol officer.
But the Protocol Department said Mr Ahmed did not go for a handshake from the Nevada Governor as has suggested.
“As part of the protocol discussions prior to the President’s speech, it was agreed that Ambassador Hassan will accompany the President on stage to show the President his seat.” Mr Adjei-Banin said.
Read the full statement below:
Our attention has been drawn to a video circulating on social media purporting that the Director of State Protocol, Ambassador Ahmed Hassan, was denied a handshake by Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada, and further that Governor Sandoval instructed Ambassador Hassan to resume his seat in the audience, at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting over the weekend.
The suggestions and interpretations given to this video are misleading and completely false. As part of the protocol discussions prior to the President’s speech, it was agreed that Ambassador Hassan will accompany the President on stage to show the President his seat. That is exactly what Ambassador Hassan was doing and not reaching for a handshake. A critical look at the video will show that Ambassador Hassan was pointing to the seat where the President was supposed to sit.
After the President shook the hands of Governor Sandoval, there was a debate as to whether the President should sit or go straight away to deliver his keynote address. What ensued was Governor Sandoval pointing to the podium for the President to deliver the speech because they were running behind schedule whilst Ambassador pointed to the seat of the President because that was the agreement at the pre-event protocol discussion. The Governor was not directing Ambassador Hassan to resume his seat.
Ambassador Hassan is a well accomplished and meticulous diplomat, who is well versed in a protocol. We, therefore, entreat the public to disregard the false suggestion being peddled as a result of a skewed interpretation of what transpired in the video.
Assistant to Director of State Protocol
Office of the President