Sep 30, 2009, 6:31 AM
The promotion of bilateral relations between countries should be given a high priority if the dream of African integration is to be realised.
It should be given all the necessary support, especially where ties seem to be cool or dormant, so as to ensure that such relations take on a new phase towards building peace and stability on the African continent.
Our focus is the visit of the new Senegalese minister of foreign affairs, who was received by President Yahya Jammeh in Banjul this week. The visit was indeed a highly welcomed development, considering the close ties between the two countries.
Madicke Niang, Senegal's top diplomat called as a special envoy of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and held discussions with President Yahya Jammeh, which centered on bilateral issues and was aimed at further strengthening ties between Banjul and Dakar.
The Gambia and Senegal are two countries with peoples who share the same ethnic groups and national languages, and the two governments and states have a duty to build close collaboration and contacts in the interest of their peoples.
We therefore call on the two leaders to always work to promote peace, stability and brotherhood between their countries, as this will go a long way toward ensuring stability in the sub-region.
Since whatever affects one country will affect the other, they must work closely to consolidate the existing ties.
The two leaders have not met for a while, and they should meet as soon as possible to talk over their differences and any misunderstandings, if any, with a view to building mutual trust since this is vital in relations between such close neighbours.
The erstwhile Senegambia Secretariat should reopen its doors in Banjul as an effective channel to foster bilateral co-operation, as well as pursue the implementation of important pending bilateral projects which will be good for Senegambian integration.
The two states must facilitate the free movement of people, goods and services, as envisaged under ECOWAS protocols.
The media have an important role to play in this process of bringing the two governments and states closer together, and they must not be found wanting in this crusade.
"The meeting (with President Jammeh) was an exemplary one, from which I have drawn very rich lessons", Niang told reporters covering State House in Banjul, adding, "I am on a diplomatic tour in the sub-region, and I started with The Gambia just to show how excellent relations between the two countries are."
Indeed, nurturing excellent relations, as highlighted by the Senegalese diplomat, should be the business of all Senegambians.
"We make our friends,we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbour."