Gambia: Good Morning Mr President - Senegal-Gambia Relations, OIC Summit

22 April 2024

Mr President, it is gratifying to see the newly elected Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye make its first visit to The Gambia, to discuss pertinent issues including cementing the existing bilateral relations between the two sister countries with you.

In the first place, this is a sign of respect and love for the Gambian people, yourself and the government .

President Faye has reaffirmed his government's commitment to working with the Gambia government to strengthen the existing cooperation between the two countries mainly in areas such as security, defence, the judiciary, education, health, trade, and free movement of people and goods.

Areas of attention include also air transport in light of introducing domestic flights, illegal exploitation of forests and fight against illicit trafficking of drugs.

Mr President, as regards as security, it is essential for the two governments to harmonise security strategies in order to fight any rebellion or external aggression, especially in connection with the jihadists, who are in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. These rebels are well equipped, trained and financially strong. The main aim of the jihadists in the Sahel region is to take control of countries and declare them Islamic states in West Africa. They are closer to Senegal via the eastern part of the neighbouring sister country.

Regarding information and communication, the two governments should promote mutual programmes and information exchanges essentially between the two state media such as the TV and the radio.

For air transport, it is important that domestic flights be introduced soonest to promote trade and tourism.

In the same vein, costs of air tickets between the two countries have been varying unfavourably to flight passengers. Thus the average Gambian or Senegalese cannot afford to buy air ticket because it continues to shoot up beyond their means every now and then.

The two governments should restrain from applying drastic upward adjustments in charges, tariffs and prices of goods without due consultation with each other, as such an approach can jeopardise the relationship.

Mr President, it is also important that both governments revive mutual conferences, such as holding regular summit meetings alternately in Banjul and Dakar.

The Sengalo-Gambia Permanent Secretariat should be more effective with the support of the two governments to promote and execute the bilateral cooperation of the two countries. All policies, including on culture and sport, of mutual interests should be channelled through the Secretariat to make them more effective.

Mr President, it is also essential to intensify our alertness about the upcoming OIC Summit. While robust preparations are underway, the summit is just around the corner, and we are expecting 57 heads of state and kings to converge on Banjul for the all-important occasion scheduled for 4 and 5 May this year. We should therefore ensure we put our house in order to make good use of this occasion.

Essentially, we should be mindful of security and safety, sanitation and hygiene, reliable electricity and water supply, transport system free of wanton traffic jam, and ensure our guests are comfortable, to maintain a nation of good repute, as the smiling coast The Gambia is revered for being a peaceful and hospitable society.

Good day!

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