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EU, Turkish, other envoys present credentials

Dec 9, 2011, 1:48 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

Four new ambassadors accredited to The Gambia yesterday presented their letters of credence to President-elect Yahya Jammeh at a ceremony held at State House in Banjul.

The new ambassadors are Mr. Ali Riza Ozcoskun from Turkey, Mrs Dominique Dellicour of the European Union based in Dakar, Sem Johan Verkammen of Belgium based in Dakar and Mr Arturo Luzzi from Italy also based in Dakar.

Speaking in an interview with journalists shortly after his audience with the Gambian leader, Ali Riza Ozcoskun said Turkey and The Gambia though far from each other, are two brotherly countries having close and friendly relations, sharing common values and beliefs and supporting each other in the international environment.

According to him, relations between the Gambia and Turkey have been further developed, especially in the military field, adding that there are possibilities of bringing Turkish Airlines to The Gambia.

“We believe that The Gambia in her economic development efforts, will find the needed support and cooperation from Turkey,” he said, noting that as the new Turkish ambassador to The Gambia, he will not spare any effort to further develop the economic ties between the two countries.

He told journalists that Turkey is ready to cooperate and provide assistance to the Gambia in all areas. “Essentially, our military cooperation and solidarity on economic and technical issues show that our relations are on the right track,” he said.

Ambassador Ali Riza expressed hope that the cooperation between the two countries in addressing the full range of critical issues of our day and age, including terrorism, extremism, intolerance, poverty, climate change and economic and financial volatility, will be further increased.

“The work ahead may be immense, but the potential is historic and the prospects are most exhilarating,” he added.

 Mrs Dominique Dellicour of the European Union said relations between the European Union and The Gambia are very fruitful one.

“We have one of the biggest cooperation programs in The Gambia. Today if you look at our portfolio of programmes, we have already committed almost three billion dalasis for cooperation in very critical domains of economic development for The Gambia,” she further stated.

According to her, the European Union has over the years been doing a lot to promote the development of the main trans-Gambia road system.

“We also have very important programmes on economic development to try to improve public finance management, transparency in the budget process, and more accountability of the government in terms of planning and implementation of the budget,” she told journalists.

Revealing that there also exist a new development project on democratic governance, ambassador Dellicour announced that a €10 million programme for supporting the Gambia government in strengthening the independence of the judiciary and improve access to justice for the ordinary citizens will be implemented.