Gambia, Ghana reaffirm bilateral relation
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Following a review and discussions on the findings of the joint UN-ECOWAS fact-finding team established in August 14, 2008, at the request of the governments of The Gambia and Ghana to facilitate efforts by both governments to bring about the peaceful resolution to the disappearance and killings of 8 people found within the territory of The Gambia.
The ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Justice of both countries met recently at the headquarters of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria, under the aegis of the UN and ECOWAS, to discuss and reaffirm their commitment to strengthen their traditionally cordial bilateral relations. They agreed that both governments extend their condolences to the families of the deceased and work towards strengthening the already existing cooperation in the exhumation and repatriation of the bodies to their families in Ghana so that they would be given fitting traditional burials.
Consistent with the findings of the fact-finding team, the two parties reiterated the fact that the Government of The Gambia is not directly or indirectly complicit in the deaths and disappearances of the Ghanaian nationals concerned. However, The Gambia Government agreed to make contributions to the families of the deceased found in its territory in conformity with the African traditional values shared by both countries. Both sides pledged to pursue, through all available means, to arrest and to prosecute all those involved in the deaths and the disappearance of the said late Ghanaians and the other ECOWAS nationals, especially those identified as culprits, according to the report.
The two countries agreed further to follow-up any future leads in the case of those suspected missing. And in recognition of the discovery that these Ghanaians and other ECOWAS nationals were victims of a human trafficking scam, and because of the regional dimension of the problem, both governments called on the ECOWAS member states to intensify efforts to identify and punish known traffickers with the support of the international community.
The two governments commended the facilitation of the UN and ECOWAS and the work of the fact-finding team. They expressed optimism that the findings of the report and the implementation of the decisions of their meeting will help to restore and strengthen the traditionally cordial bilateral relations between the two countries.
Author: by Musa Ndow & Augustus Mendy