The French ambassador to Senegal overseeing The Gambia, His Excellency Christophe Bigot has told The Point's Pa Modou Cham that France will be fully supporting The Gambia in many areas such as security, developments and bilaterally relations.
He made these remarks over the weekend during an exclusive interview with The Point, at Alliance Francaise, in Banjul.
Mr. Bigot explained that they have been very supportive in democratic and peaceful revolution and The Gambia has been a message for all Africa and the world for being successful in ensuring a very quiet way on the democratic revolution.
"We have taken lot of decisions to re-engage the Gambia, though we were absent from The Gambia for obvious reasons because there was no substance and no hope since then. Now we have taken several measures like deciding that The Gambia will report on the list of the priority countries to give assistance in terms of development and will enable The Gambia to get its wishes, loans or grants from the Alliance Française development -AFD. The decision was taken few weeks ago."
Mr. Bigot highlighted that they have supported The Gambia with workshops organised on transitional justice where they tried to provide experience and expertise through the work under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice in favour of truth reconciliation and reparation.
"We have resumed the security cooperation with the security adviser and with military."
He explained that these are measures taken to nurture the security of The Gambia. He said that the two countries have started to strengthen the Franco Alliance by setting the first stone of the French School in the perimeter of the Alliance Française in Banjul to create large complex dedicated to French language and French culture.
He stated that they have opened diplomatic antenna and the physical location of the antenna will be open in the upcoming weeks and it will be located on Atlantic Road.
Mr. Bigot reiterated that their intervention in The Gambia to support has already started. "We have long experience with The Gambia. So we had to set few basis because we have already learnt several actions in the field of security cooperation through exercises organised by the French Army based in Dakar." He said it was a regional mandate working with Nigeria, Burkina Faso and other countries and they have decided to work with The Gambia in terms of exercise, assessment of the fact and experience of one another. "We have security experts that are provided by The Gambian government to provide any kind of expertise and to organise any kind of programmes.
On deportation, he said his country has not approached the Gambian authorities to signed deportation agreement, but said they support the force of European countries.
"We support the action taken by the European Union - engaging in discussions with Gambian authorities but this will be done with full respect of the rights of the people.