WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States and the West African nation of Ghana signed an open skies agreement, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater announced Friday.

The pact, signed on Thursday, will eliminate all restrictions on air service between the two nations over the next six years. Restrictions on air cargo services and airline pricing are to be removed immediately.

The move represents the first formal aviation tie between the two nations, and the fourth of its kind between the United States and an African nation. The U.S. has forty-four such agreements in all.