France, Gambia open diplomatic antenna

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

In their quest to strengthen bilateral ties that bind Banjul and Paris, France and The Gambia on Monday opened a diplomatic antenna, as part of France broader intervention to support The Gambia.

The opening ceremony was held at the newly French Embassy in Fajara and was graced by ministers, ambassadors and other dignitaries.

The French ambassador to The Gambia, Christopher Bigot, said France decided during the country’s presidential election that it was time for them to come and give their helping hand to The Gambian revolution as everybody was looking for Gambia as mother in peace and democracy. This, he added, is why they decided to open the diplomatic antenna.

“We wish Gambia in the cooperation of justice and we decided to help Gambia with fifty million euros (50, 000,000)    and that was the first bilateral relation for The Gambia. Charbel, is chosen to be the honorary  consular to The Gambia, I am sure he will be very concern to help the French community in The Gambia. He deserves to be awarded because of his services he rendered for the two countries. Some years back, he was the chairman of a board school in The Banjul and he still keeps contributing to the development of this country,” he stated.

Having opened a diplomatic antenna now, Ambassador Bigot indicated that many would ask how about the visas. But he, however, made it clear that he didn’t have an answer for that now.

Ambassador Bigot expressed optimism that the good relationship that The Gambian president has with his French counterpart, they would surely work on that.

For his part, Charbel N. Elhajj, expressed delight to receive the award from the president of France through Ambassador Christopher Bigot, saying without the support of Mr. Bigot, he wouldn’t receive the award. “So I owe a lot to Mr. Bigot and his team who bring the idea that Gambia is put back in the platform where it belongs and where it should go.  The sign is when the French president invited President Barrow through Mr. Bigot from Dakar to put back Gambia where it belongs in the world map; it was a biggest moral recognition since we come back from 22 years of darkness.”

“I owe a lot in this country because this country welcomed my parents over 100 years ago and I think it is high time to give back to my country and everybody should play his part towards the rebuilding of the country. I promise that I will do my best to maintain the relationship and to protect the French nationals in the country,” he assured.

The representative of the Foreign minister, Amadou Sanneh, acknowledged that he was part of Barrow’s delegation when he visited France, further describing the visit as a memorable one, because they had the honour to visit their ministries and it marks a new beginning of relations for Gambia and France.

He added that they had very fruitful meeting and The Gambia was not in their plans, saying The Gambia was isolated with her friends and they believed that the New Gambia needs reconnection to its friend to be part of the French development programme.

“In 2018 the ambassador at the China Africa Forum in Dakar has approved The Gambia in the new French budget and it was really an excitement. At the international conference, France also pledged Fifty Million Euros (50, 000,000) for the Gambia as grant not loan,”

 he reminded.

Author: Pa Modou Cham