The president of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr AJJ Yahya Jammeh, on Monday received in audience a special representative of the secretary general of the United Nations in Guinea Bissau, Jose Ramos-Horta, at State House in Banjul.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the courtesy call, Ramos-Horta explained that his Gambia visit is in line with the international community's (the UN, African Union, Ecowas, European Union and the Portuguese speaking countries) efforts to harmonise strategies on how to enhance smooth political transition in Guinea Bissau, that allows for free elections to ensure peace and stability in that country.
Ramos-Horta acknowledged that the Gambia is one of the closest neighbours to Guinea Bissau. During the discussion, he said, President Jammeh outlined that The Gambia has not only diplomatic and political relations but also blood relations with the people of Guinea Bissau.
"The international community is very much concerned with the level of progress in Guinea Bissau. We have promised a road map with a specific deadline for voter registration, inclusive transition government, a date for election for a new National Assembly. These have been the promises but they have not yet materialised," he pointed out. The UN official further lamented that Guinea Bissau is undergoing a long political transition without an elected government, stressing that the longer the transition takes the more difficult it becomes to sustain stability, or attract international engagements.
He observed that the political uncertainty in Guinea Bissau could scare away potential investors. "So is in the best interest of the country that there is a real institutional, and political clarification of who is in power and who is going to make the important decisions. That is why elections are very important," he said, adding that Guinea Bissau will in the future need strong international engagement to rebuild the state institutions, infrastructure and economy, after the election".
The visiting UN official also highlighted the fact that they are also worried about the issues of organised crimes; particularly drug peddling and illegal fishing, all of which, he indicated as having negative impact on the socio-economic development of a nation.