Jul 13, 2011, 1:53 PM
Madam Helene Cave Charge d'Affaires of the European Union in Banjul is set to leave The Gambia at the end of her tour of duty in the country.
Speaking at a cocktail reception held at the Coco Ocean Hotel in Bijilo, Dr. Momodou Tangara, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Gambians Abroad, said the chapter heralded by the assumption of Madam Cave's portfolio in The Gambia with regards to the EU-Gambia relations is perpetuated on the firm adherence of the tenets of unhindered cooperation, partnership and achievements of the goals set forth within the framework of Agreement between the EU and The Gambia.
According to Dr. Tangara, the relations between the Government of the Gambia and the European Union have been orchestrated and perpetuated through the firm comprehension and conviction that through collaboration, friendship and mutual assistance, a well-developed partnership could evolve into a relationship that is lasting and complementary to the socio-economic development of The Gambia.
He stated that the Government of The Gambia through his Ministry has continued to profess and pursue the principle of an open and non-aligned foreign policy that is proactively seeking avenues of enhancing interactions with friendly countries and partner institutions.
"It is heartening to recall that aside from the historical past that binds The Gambia to Europe, we have continued to enjoy mutually rewarding relations and partnerships with the EU," he said, adding that such partnerships between the Gambia and EU, as well as with individual nations within the union have been fruitful.
Dr. Tangara further stated that the dilapidating trepidations of the global financial system such as the financial crisis experienced in 2009 and other inter-linked global phenomena like climate change that continue to threaten the common aspirations shared by our governments, could be alleviated through the consolidated determination and recognition of the reality that in the era of a globalised world people should willingly appreciate that the world is one family and must remain thus.
In her farewell speech, Ms Helene Cave expressed her gratitude for the support she received during her stay in The Gambia, describing it as happy and rewarding.
According to her, the EU cooperation with The Gambia is fully supportive of the ultimate goal of the Millennium Development Goals attainment and in line with the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper II and also Vision 2020, which represent both the medium and long term strategy of President Yahya Jammeh.
In highlighting some of the major achievements of the EU in The Gambia over the last four years, Madam Cave disclosed that in the field of road infrastructure, the EU funded projects amounting to more than 50 million euros. The main results, she added, are completion of the Mandinaba-Seleti and Barra-Amdallai roads, both trunk roads improving the network from Banjul to the southern and northern borders of Senegal; substantial completion of the 180 kms Soma-Basse road and the long-term technical assistance to the National Roads Authority and setting up of a fully-equipped laboratory for testing road construction materials.
"The water sector is also one of the sectors where the EU has a long-standing experience. Results are also very good and, by the end of this year, the current EU project will have delivered safe drinking water to around 115,000 Gambians in various regions in the country," she stated.