11 September 2017

Gambia: President Discusses Re-Joining the Commonwealth

The assessment team from the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, on Friday held talks with Gambian President Adama Barrow, concerning the readmission process of the Gambia, to the Commonwealth of Nations. President Barrow described the decision of his predecessor Yahya Jammeh, as a unilateral one to withdraw the country from the organisation and describes this as unfortunate and uncalled for. He said Gambians never wanted to leave the Commonwealth. "Nobody wants to be isolated. We want to be part of all international bodies. This was one man's decision and not something that was put to all Gambians. If it had been a referendum, the decision would never have been taken. We are careful and are calculating our steps so that we do not make mistakes. We believe in the principle of democracy and we are positive about our future. Gambians are looking forward to our return to the Commonwealth. So the message is full membership as soon as possible," he said.

Ms. Karen McKenzie, Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said Gambia's membership in the Commonwealth over the years had been beneficial and provided technical assistance to the country. "The Commonwealth Secretariat would make an assessment of how well The Gambia met membership prerequisites and this would form part of the Commonwealth Secretary General's consultation with member states," she said.

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh pulled the country from The Commonwealth in 2013 claiming that the country will not be colonized twice and branded the organization as a tool for colonialism. Jammeh said the Gambia will not be colonized twice.

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