Feb 11, 2009, 3:39 AM
President Ma Ying-Jeou of Taiwan met with Ousman Jammeh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs from the Republic of The Gambia, and Mrs. Jammeh at the Presidential Office on the afternoon of March 9th. The President, on behalf of the government and people of the ROC, extended warm welcome and deep appreciation to Foreign Minister Jammeh, reports monitored by this paper revealed.
According to the reports, the President lauded Foreign Minister Jammeh for serving at The Gambia's Office of the President as Secretary-General and Secretary of State responsible for Petroleum, Energy and Mineral Resources.
During his tenure in those positions he visited Taiwan three times. This particular trip marks his fourth visit to Taiwan, and the President remarked that Foreign Minister Jammeh is acquainted with the state of political and economic development in Taiwan.
President Ma noted that since The Gambia had established diplomatic relations with the ROC in 1995, it has consistently been an important ally of the ROC in West Africa. The President stated that The Gambia has seen enormous economic development, as well as progress in education and women’s rights under the outstanding leadership of President Yahya Jammeh. President Jammeh has consistently been ahead of the curve, making him an important regional leader in West Africa, President Ma said.
The President further said that he and President Jammeh had engaged in in-depth talks during his counterpart's visit to Taiwan in April of last year. He said that President Jammeh’s concern about education in his country left a deep impression on him.
President Ma quoted President Jammeh as saying that when he took office, The Gambia had only two doctors. As of last year, however, 68 doctors had been trained in his nation and a medical school had been established there.
This, he said, demonstrates the efforts and determination President Jammeh has with respect to promoting education, President Ma said. Moreover, President Jammeh is especially concerned about women's right to education, he said. This position has led to a large increase in the percentage of women in The Gambia being educated, President Ma said. In addition, upon learning that Taiwan can provide a high quality higher education, The Gambia selected outstanding students to come here to study.
At present, National Taipei University of Technology has established a special course in petroleum studies for 25 students. The President said this represents the ROC’s willingness to adopt concrete measures to assist in educating the young generation of The Gambia.
President Ma remarked that the two nations engaged in broad co-operation in the fields of education, medicine and agriculture. The two countries share a strong alliance and deep friendship, he said. Last August when southern Taiwan experienced devastating flooding and landslides caused by Typhoon Morakot, The Gambia generously donated US$700,000 for disaster relief.
President Ma stressed that this was the largest donation of funds from any nation, and that he would like to specially express his deepest appreciation and respect for this gesture.
The President said he is hopeful that the relationship between the two countries will develop further. He also expressed his hope that “Foreign Minister Jammeh will pass along the deepest appreciation of the ROC government and people for The Gambia’s repeatedly speaking on behalf of the ROC in the international community.” He specifically pointed out The Gambia’s assistance to the ROC in becoming a party to the Agreement on Government Procurement and participating in the World Health Assembly, which the ROC had long sought to participate in. The President said he hopes that The Gambia in the future will continue to provide support and encouragement to the ROC.