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Bissau Assembly Speaker addresses parliament in Banjul, signs MoU

Aug 21, 2014, 9:58 AM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

The President (Speaker) of the National People’s Assembly in Guinea Bissau, Hon. Engenheiro Cipriano Cassama, Wednesday addressed the National Assembly of The Gambia in Banjul.

Officials at the country’s legislature said, that the speaker of the parliament of a foreign state was invited to address the National Assembly “is unprecedented”.

Meanwhile, as part of the working visit of Hon. Cassama, the two speakers of parliament Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony held at the National Assembly building in Banjul.

Hon. Cassama arrived in the country Tuesday for a two-day working visit, and in his speech thanked his hosts for the invitation to visit The Gambia. It is an opportunity to open a new page “of friendship and cooperation between our two institutions and peoples”, he added.

He said the two states political histories have many “points of contact”. He spoke of “historical ties which are very old”, and of “the strong friendship between our two peoples”.

Hon. Cassama pledged to do everything in his power to strengthen the institutional solidarity between the two parliaments, as well as friendship between the members of parliament.

He announced that the Bissau parliament will establish a Guinea Bissau-Gambia Parliamentary Friendship Grouping, whose main task will be “promoting the exchange of experience” and strengthening friendship between the two peoples.

According to the Bissau-Guinean speaker, “peace, political and institutional stability continue to represent for us Guineans a great political and moral challenge”.

However, following the completion of the two-year transitional period, “we would like to affirm that peace and stability in Guinea Bissau constitute a definite and irreversible achievement”.

He added that they would not “slow down” in their efforts to consolidate the peace, “which is still shaky”, as well as in strengthening public institutions, “which are too weak”. He said in Guinea Bissau, they continue to do so on the “basis of the principle of national reconciliation”.

He informed his audience that “the preparation of a national reconciliation conference is in progress, under the guardianship of the Guinean parliament and with the high sponsorship of the President of the Republic. We want to convene this conference this year or latest during the first three months of 2015.”

He said the parliament in Bissau will invite members of the Gambian parliament to the conference, “and we count on the strong support of your parliament in this sense”.

Speaking earlier, the Speaker of National Assembly of The Gambia, Hon. Abdoulie Bojang, recalled that at the invitation of the speaker of parliament in Bissau, a former speaker of Gambia’s National Assembly visited Bissau in May 2010, and addressed the National People’s Assembly of Guinea Bissau.

According to Hon. Bojang, said the visit of his Bissau-Guinea counterpart follows a meeting between the Gambia’s ambassador to Guinea-Bissau, Abdou Jarju, and the speaker of the National Popular Assembly in Bissau, Hon. Cipriano Cassama.

He added that during the meeting, Cassama expressed “his desire to pay a visit to The Gambia, to transmit the gratitude of the Guinean people and parliamentarians for the unflinching support of the government and people of The Gambia during their country’s transition period, as well as the indispensable contribution towards enhancing the return to constitutional normality”.

Over the years, there has been positive interaction between the two nations with the aim of strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation, Speaker Bojang further stated.

“Guinea Bissau and The Gambia are one and their citizens are the same people divided by the colonialists. The Gambia is a sister country to Guinea Bissau, and the relationship between the two countries dated before the colonial period”.