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Gambia will never be an enemy to US - says President Jammeh

Oct 31, 2011, 12:16 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

President Yahya Jammeh has said that The Gambia will never be an enemy to the United States of America because, as he put it, many Gambians including army officers have benefited from one or another program of the government of the United States of America at the expense of US taxpayers’ monies.

Jammeh, who was speaking last Thursday during celebrations marking the 50th anniversary and 45th years of existence of the US Peace Corps in The Gambia held at Kanilai village, said the presence of Peace Corps in Africa have helped The US to understand the cultural diversity of Africa.

“As we celebrate together, the relationship between The Gambia and US will never and cannot be broken by any political system, because Gambians and Americans are good friends and no politics can spoil that relationship,” Jammeh assured the gathering including US ambassador to The Gambia, Pamela Ann White.

While assuring the Peace Corps volunteers that The Gambia will always be grateful to the US, the Gambian leader commended the Peace Corps volunteers, noting that there cannot be peace without friendship and mutual trust.

“Many Gambians have benefited from US universities, and we want to assure you that we are friends of the United States of America,” he said.

Commending US President Barack Obama and the Government and people of the United State of America for their contribution to the sustenance and maintenance of peace and love on earth for the past fifty years, Jammeh opined that the best foreign policy initiative of the US since the creation of the United States of America is the Peace Corps volunteers.

He commended the Peace Corps volunteers on behalf of his government and people of The Gambia for their sacrifices in all sectors.

“If the Peace Corps volunteers are serving in the remotest part of The Gambia, who are you the third world Gambian to say that you are not going to serve in the small village in your own country,” he said.

US ambassador to The Gambia Pamela Ann White in her speech gave a detailed background history of the Peace Corps, which she said was formally established in The Gambia in 1966.

She told the gathering that, over the past 45 years, more than 1500 volunteers have served as health workers, teachers, youth development specialists, environmental engineers and agricultural specialists.

While commending Peace Corps volunteers for contributing part of their lives to the ideal of world peace, ambassador White called on them to teach communities how to raise their living standards and their voices.

“Your personal commitment to live far away from family and friends in an environment that is strange and occasionally uncomfortable, is a testament of your passion and powerful spirit,” she said, adding that this commitment is what sets Peace Corps apart from all other aid agencies or development programmes on earth.

Jeffrey Cornish, Peace Corps country director to The Gambia, who also spoke at the ceremony,  said the founding of Peace Corps have forever change the way Americans see the world and the way the world sees America.