SoS Johnson, Minister Gadio meet Jammeh
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Crispin Grey-Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, yesterday led his Senegalese counterpart, Ceikh Tidiane Gadio, to State House, Banjul, where they paid a courtesy call on President Yahya Jammeh.
The courtesy call was part of the activities of Senegalo-Gambian Joint-Ministerial Commission, which ended on Friday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel. Experts from the two neighbouring countries took part in the meeting, which focused on contentious issues revolving around trade, customs and security, amongst other key matters affecting the mutual relations.
Speaking in an interview with journalists shortly after their audience with the Gambian leader, the Senegalese Foreign Minister disclosed that he conveyed a "message of brotherhood" from President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal to President Jammeh. Mr Gadio thanked President Jammeh for the reception and then described the meeting as fruitful.
Ceikh Tidiane Gadio used the opportunity to comment on the Joint Ministerial Commission between the two countries, noting that this mechanism seeks to bridge the gap in relations between The Gambia and Senegal.
Mr Gadio told the journalists that problems between neighbours are inevitable, saying that it will be difficult for Senegal and Zimbabwe to have problems because of the geographical distance. He described the peoples of the two countries as one people, despite the territorial boundary.
The head of the Senegalese delegation in the Banjul Joint-Ministerial Commission divulged the renewed determination of the two countries to implement the outcome of the two-day meeting. He assured the journalists that both countries would be more practical on the content of the bilateral agreements and then expressed confidence that there will be no room for foot dragging. "We want to be more practical so that when we meet again, we will be talking about other areas different from the current issues," he said.
Mr Gadio confirmed that the Vice- President of The Gambia and the Prime Minister of Senegal will be working in tandem to galvanise the progress on the agreements, adding that security personnel of both countries will be sensitised to end harassment at checkpoints or borders; an undesirable phenomenon heavily criticised by both Gambians and Senegalese.
For his part, The Gambia's Foreign Affairs Secretary of State, Grey-Johnson told journalists that issues that have affected the relations between the two countries were discussed openly and frankly. According to him, this included police harassment and other contentious issues that seem to be poisoning the relations. "The contentious issues have been brought to the fore for a change. All these issues are finally going to be laid to rest," he assured.
Secretary of State Grey-Johnson said there had been no formal consultation between the two countries for the past three years. He disclosed that they are considering a second meeting, as well as exploring the possibility of a meeting between the two Heads of State.
Author: by Ebrima Jaw Manneh