#Article (Archive)

Gov’t issues outcome of Gambia-Senegal border talks

May 18, 2016, 1:12 PM

The Gambia Government has issued the outcome of the just-concluded meeting in Dakar on the Gambia-Senegal border closure.

The meeting was attended by a high-powered delegation from the Gambia Government led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Neneh MacDouall Gaye.

The following is a Government press release on the May 15, 2016 Bilateral Consultative Meeting in Dakar between the Islamic Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal:

A Ministerial Delegation returned to Banjul on Monday, after a bilateral consultative meeting with their Senegalese counterpart held in Dakar on Sunday.

The Meeting centered on the prevailing situation at the border between the two countries and issues of common interest.

The Gambian Delegation was headed by Honourable Neneh MacDouall Gaye, Minister of Foreign Affairs, accompanied by Honourable Ousman Sonko, Minister of the Interior; Honourable Abdoulie Jobe, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment; Honourable Mama Fatima Singhateh, Attorney General and Minister of Justice; Honourable Yam Bamba Njie – Keita, Deputy Secretary General and other Senior Government Officials.

In their opening remarks, both Foreign Minister Neneh MacDouall Gaye and Mankeur Ndiaye recognized the historic and longstanding relations that exist between the two countries, and reiterated the importance to uphold the cordial relations between the Islamic Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal.

Hon. MacDouall Gaye also emphasized the importance of maintaining frank and open dialogue between the two countries at all times, with a view to promote confidence and avoid misunderstandings between the two countries. The two Ministers agreed that good relations between the two countries should not only be based on mutual respect and trust, but also in the fulfillment of commitments from both sides.

The two delegations reviewed the border situation between the two countries and acknowledged that it is an unfortunate occurrence, considering the close relations, including the strong cultural and family ties that bind the two countries together. In this regard, the Senegalese side undertook to work seriously with all stakeholders for the reopening of the border and quick resumption of traffic as a matter of urgency.

In addition, with regard to the issue of Inter- State Road Transit, both sides agreed to convene a meeting between the two Customs Authorities to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding for the facilitation of road transit between The Gambia and Senegal before end of July 2016. The two sides also agreed to put in place a Joint Observatory Body on Bilateral Trade as soon as possible to ensure compliance of administrative and conventional rules and procedures, including the suppression of harassment and undesignated checkpoints along the corridors.

In the area of re-export trade, the two sides agreed to engage in discussions to put in place ways and means of softening the control measures in order to reduce delays in business flow.

In a bid to further enhance the bilateral trade relations, the two sides agreed to work on removing all trade barriers between the two countries, and expressed their commitment to work together for the establishment of a Bilateral Transit Trade Agreement between the two countries.

It would be recalled that traffic at the border between the two countries halted in February this year. Speaking to journalists soon after the opening ceremony in Dakar, Foreign Minister MacDouall Gaye said that the Islamic Republic of The Gambia had opened their border since and removed the tariff increase which was effected in reciprocity to what transporters were being charged along the transit trade routes in Senegal.

Minister MacDouall Gaye, in thanking the two Heads of State, their Excellencies Sheikh Prof. Alhaji Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, Babili Mansa and Mr. Macky Sall for directing that the consultations take place, said that numerous appeals have been made by eminent persons, religious elders, Heads of State, with the latest being H. E. President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea, who recently visited his brother, His Excellency President Jammeh.

The Gambia’s Foreign Minister recalled His Excellency President Jammeh’s statement that as a Pan Africanist and a Muslim, he cannot sit back and watch people suffer for technicalities that can be resolved. Foreign Minister MacDouall Gaye said that President Jammeh has emphasized that lasting solutions must be found to prevent the reoccurrence of the flouting of protocols and agreements that will result in situations that will negatively affect our two peoples.

In concluding the consultative meeting, the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed their strong commitment to closely and constantly work together to further consolidate the bilateral relations between the two countries for the mutual benefit of the peoples of the two countries.