The Foreign Affairs Ministries of the Republic of Indonesia and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on protocol training, ahead of Gambia’s hosting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit in 2018.
The signing ceremony that was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Banjul, came after bilateral meetings between the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of the OIC extraordinary summit held in Jakarta in 2016.
The MOU aims to establish the framework of technical cooperation on protocol and international conference for Gambian officials and foreign service officers.
Baboucarr M.S Jobarteh, the Director General of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed on behalf of The Gambia Government, while Mansyur Pangeran, Indonesian Ambassador accredited to The Gambia, signed on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of his country.
Ndey Haddy Jeng, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who doubles as the Director for African Affairs and overseeing the Directorate for Asian Division, stated that the MOU will be in the areas of protocol and conference training.
“It is the first of its kind between the two Foreign Affairs Ministries, but not unprecedented given that the two countries signed an agreement on economic and technical cooperation in 1994, which opened up doors to many sectors of cooperation between the two countries.”
DPS Jeng further acknowledged that the two Ministries have been cooperating especially in the agriculture sector, and that the Indonesian Government has been assisting The Gambia in other areas such as road, transport and trade.
Mansyur Pangeran, Indonesian Ambassador to The Gambia, said the signing of the MOU is an indication that The Gambia is a friendly country. “It is encouraging. [This will] strengthen our relationship not only at bilateral level, but regional and multi-lateral levels.”
Ambassador Pangeran said after presenting his letters of credence to the President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa, the Gambian leader gave him words of encouragement and an opportunity to establish their cooperation not only in the agric sector, but other fields.
The Indonesian diplomat maintained that he will bring the Indonesian business community in the country as well as encourage Gambian business owners to visit Jakarta.
Baboucarr M.S Jobarteh, the Director General of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the training will motivate young protocol officers as well as enhance the Protocol department. “We will be hosting the OIC Summit, although we hosted other major events like AU in 2006, but this is 21st century and there is more progress and improvements in terms of protocols,” he added.
Jobarteh expressed optimism that they will learn a lot from Indonesia as they hosted the OIC before.
He said there should be no delay in implementing what they have signed.
by Omar Wally