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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Ghana apologise for Paintsil
John Paintsil
Paintsil plays for Isreali side Hapoel Tel Aviv
Ghana's foreign minister has apologised to Arab nations after a player raised the Israeli flag to celebrate a World Cup victory.

Nana Addo Akufo-Addo said the action of defender John Paintsil, who waved the flag after Ghana's 2-0 win over the Czech Republic last Saturday were not intended to disrespect the Arab world.

Paintsil, who plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv, waved the flag at a party of Isreali fans who travelled to the World Cup finals to watch him in action with the Black Stars.

Akufo-Addo met ambassadors from the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria and Morocco and apologised to them.

"The incident was the act of an individual, who was completely ignorant of its political and diplomatic implications, and clearly had no official support," he said on Thursday.

"The government of Ghana deeply regrets this act by one of our citizens.

"Ghana has not drifted from its even-handed diplomacy in the Arab-Israeli conflict and we hope that this incident will not affect our relations with our Arab brothers and sisters."

Ghana's Football Association apologised on Monday for Paintsil's conduct and the Arab League said on Wednesday it had received an official apology from Ghana over the incident.

SEE ALSO
Ghana team guide
22 May 06 |  Ghana
World Cup debutants
20 May 06 |  World Cup 2006
Pick your Ghana XI
31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
World Cup schedule
25 May 06 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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