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A most reassuring development

Jan 6, 2011, 11:53 AM

There are strong indications that the fears of a worsening in relations, between the two sister countries, which most Gambians and Senegalese had, following a recent statement issued by the Gambia government, may now come to pass.

At least this is the impression we get from the visit Tuesday by Gambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Momodou Tangara, to Senegal.

We have always urged that both heads of state meet from to time to review the state of the bilateral relations, and to regularly consult with a view to ensuring cooperation in all fields of mutual interest and benefit.

We have always insisted that there is need for the moribund Senegalo-Gambia permanent secretariat to be revived, which could better facilitate such collaboration.

In fact, we have also recommended, among others, that even our armed forces need to cooperate for the good of both countries.

It is with this mindset that we hail the visit to Dakar by Dr Tangara to Dakar.

With this visit, he puts to rest the fears of most people, which were heightened, in recent days, especially after the Gambia government issued a statement on how it perceives the leadership of the Senegalese government.

Indeed, the visit of the Gambia’s top diplomat to Dakar, we believe, is one of the ways of helping to reassure the citizens of both countries, that both governments are firmly committed to peaceful co-existence and good neighbourliness.

It is important that both countries make this commitment, particularly because there is no way trade can flourish between the two countries in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and mistrust.

We, therefore, reiterate our call for a stronger and better Senegal-Gambia relationship, based on taking concrete action to implement the activities and programmes developed over the past decades, by the governments and technocrats of both countries, which are yet to be fully realized.

In any case, it is important for us to remind all Senegambians that we are uniquely positioned to teach the rest of the continent the significance and benefits of integration.

It is obvious that our common ancestry and history have bonded us together in such a way that we are condemned to live together forever.

Thus, it is to the advantage of both states to emphasize our affinity, rather than dwell on differences that are inimical to mutual progress and prosperity.

“We make our friends, we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbour”

G.K. Chesterton