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NEWS - How long will Golden Tulip hotels remain under boycott?

Aug 31, 11 - Comments

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As the Libyan civil war recently took a decisive turn and the first billions of frozen Libyan assets are being released, we wanted to look at how the six-month conflict has been affecting Ghana through the boycott by various diplomatic representations of NATO members of the Golden Tulip hotels due to their Libyan affiliation.

Background
The owner of the two Golden Tulip hotels (Accra and Kumasi) is GLAHCO Hotels and Tourism Development Company Ltd., a subsidiary company of Ghana Libyan Arab Holding Company Ltd. GLAHCO is also involved in real estate and farming, with its current high profile project being the large 15-storey mix-used development on Oxford Street (ex-MTN office). Incorporated in 1982 and employing over 400 people, GLAHCO is a joint-venture between the Libyan Arab African Investment Company (LAAICO) and the government of Ghana with equities of 60% and 40% respectively. LAAICO is a 100% subsidiary of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which was set up in 2006 with an initial capital of about $40 billion.

The name Golden Tulip is not linked to ownership but to the management contract given to the Paris-based Golden Tulip Hospitality Group.


Here are notes about a few NATO countries that have been actively involved in the Libyan conflict and the positions expressed this summer by their diplomatic representation in Ghana with regards to Golden Tulip hotels.

USA
Following the original sanctions on Libya taken by the US government on February 25, 2011, additional sanctions on 21 June 2011 specifically target GLAHCO, the company owning the hotels.

The position of American Embassy, Accra on the boycott of Golden Tulip hotels has been clearly stated that same day:
“…all Americans are banned from the Golden Tulip Hotels and no American Government money may be spent there.”

UK
Following the United Nations sanctions on Libya, the UK enacted the Libya (Financial Sanctions) Order 2011 (Freezing Order) on February 27, 2011 as well as other measures. The UK froze assets of Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, including holdings at HSBC. Sources said about $3.2bn of assets belonging to the Libyan Investment Authority and other entities had been immediately frozen in London, and that the figure may go far higher.

The position of the British High Commission, Accra on the Golden Tulip hotel in Accra was that the BHC:
“…ceased using this as our marker hotel some time ago.”

EU
European Union 27 member states agreed on 8 March 2011 to add the $70 billion Libyan Investment Authority to a sanctions list aimed a various financial institutions.

The Delegation of the European Union in Ghana declined to comment on the issue and simply referred to the above sanctions.
 
FRANCE
More than a participating nation, France has been at the core of the international involvement in the Libyan conflict, such as being the first country to officially recognize the Transitional National Council.

No statement has been made by the French Embassy, Accra, but our sources mentioned a tacit agreement within the embassy that no business should be conducted at Golden Tulip hotels.

CANADA
Besides taking part in air strikes and patrol from the start, Canada is also the country of origin of the operational commander for NATO’s Operation Unified Protector on Libya, Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard of the Canadian Air Force, named in March 2011.

The High Commission of Canada, Accra, stated that no intructions related to sanctions were received from the Canadian government.


How long will Golden Tulip hotels remain under sanctions by embassies is now the question?

Despite the major recent developments in the ground, the Friends of Libya conference on September 1 and the probable lifting of several EU sanctions on September 2, it is clear that the Libya crisis is not over, militarily and politically. Numerous countries, including China and Russia, are yet to recognize the Transitional National Council; in Africa itself, the African Union and over thirty countries, including South Africa, do not recognize the legitimacy of the TNC (see this interesting report on African countries still backing the Kadhafi regime - in French).


Further notes:
Here is a third party Blog post on the subject and a Press Release from the
US/NATO Hands Off Libya ! Hands Off Africa Coalition which "is organizing a march from Kwame Nkrumah Circle to the US Embassy to demonstrate against the illegal US/NATO invasion and for victory to Qathafi and the Libyan Jamahiriya on 21st September 2011".

PS: we wonder how related to the Libya situation are the changes of URL for the websites of Golden Tulip hotels in Ghana from www.goldentulipaccra.com to www.goldentuliphotelaccra.com and from www.goldentulipkumasi.com to www.goldentulipkumasicity.com.



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