President Ma conferred with GCRG
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The president of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh has honoured his Taiwanese counterpart, President Ma Ying-jeou with the prestigious honorary Grand Commander of the Republic of The Gambia (GCRG).
The award was pinned on the visiting president Wednesday evening at a state banquet hosted in his honour at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
The honour, which among other things recognises President Ma Ying-jeou’s commitment in enhancing the ties that bind Banjul and Taipei, also saw the conferment of the honorary Commander of the Republic of The Gambia (CRG) award on the Foreign Affairs minister of Taiwan, Timothy C.T Yang.
Addressing the banquet shortly after conferring the two honours on his guests, President Jammeh extolled the relationship that exists between The Gambia and her Asian Island ally nation, highlighting the latter’s immense contribution in the socio-economic development of this country.
Describing Taiwan as a great contributor to the Gambia’s development strides, President Jammeh highlighted that its budgetary support channeled through its Banjul Embassy supplements the massive investment they undertake in various areas of development, such as education, health, agriculture, energy and infrastructure development amongst a host of others. The support received from the government of Taiwan, President Jammeh posited, is felt in almost every sphere of life in the country.
“The mutual friendship, care and respect that so happily characterise the very cordial bonds that exist between the governments and peoples of our two nations could not have climaxed into anything less than such high-level political engagements at presidential level that offer us the opportunity for in-depth bilateral discussions, which in turn would bring about understanding and mutual trust at the highest political level between the two countries,” the Gambian leader told a gathering that included senior government officials of the two countries, as well as members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps.
“As small nations,” the Gambian leader added, “we need to stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of our strategic national interests and by extension the sovereign interests of all the world’s small states”. President Jammeh underscored that it is their conviction that Taiwan-Gambia relations can be strengthened and deepened to be a model for South-South cooperation between small states of the world.
He continued: “Your Excellency’s presence creates yet another opportune moment to reassure you that The Gambia’s international foreign policy reflects such fundamental humanistic principles and the shared values engrained in our cultural heritage. These principles and values are manifested distinctively in our interpersonal and international relations both socially and politically. This accounts for my uncompromising stance against injustice, oppression, deprivation and all the social ills that retard human progress.”
To this end, President Jammeh reiterated his government and the Gambian people’s condemnation of powers that impose what he called their “will and hegemony on small and weaker nations violating their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom to choose a way of life that befits their cultural and spiritual values as sovereign nations. This, he added, explains why The Gambia “regrets and opposes vehemently” the exclusion of the Republic of China, Taiwan, from active participation in all international fora, including membership to the specialised institutions of the United Nations.
“Our support for the cause of the people of Taiwan is not premised on material or financial gain, but deeply rooted in the sense of justice and uprightness that we share together as freedom-loving human beings, who want to live in absolute freedom and dignity.
On his part, the Taiwanese leader, who later took the podium to address the convergence through an interpreter, said the tumultuous welcome they received upon touching the shores of The Gambia showcases the friendship and hospitality of Gambians. He thanked President Jammeh for the honours confirmed on him and his foreign minister, saying it is for all the Taiwanese people.
Congratulating President Jammeh on his re-election, President Ma also harped on the excellent ties that bind the two countries. The visiting leader, who is making his first African visit as head of state asserted that himself and President Jammeh share a lot of common views, stating “we both pursue peace and we are both committed to our national developments”. He also praised his host’s commitment to the development of his nation, noting that The Gambia under his leadership has won recognition in this region and the world at large.
“Three years ago President Jammeh mentioned that when he started to rule this country, there were only two doctors in the whole nation but the number has increased to 68. In addition, Your Excellency has also built a medical school so as to cultivate personnel in medicine and I would like to show you my highest respect,” he stated.
President Ma recalled that 50 years ago, Taiwan also faced similar problems, but noted that with their continuous efforts, they have learned to overcome these difficulties and therefore, are thus more than willing to share their experiences with The Gambia.
He noted that in the past, Taiwan was also a recipient of foreign aid, underscoring that now thatit has the capacities, they are committed to play their role as a provider of international humanitarian aid. He pledged that Taiwan is willing to share not only its experience but resources as well.
Author: by Hatab Fadera