Dec 12, 2008, 4:46 AM
Ministers and senior officials of the Gambia Government, members of the diplomatic and consular corps, and the Senegalese community in The Gambia joined Senegalese Ambassador to The Gambia Professor Saliou Ndiaye and the staff of the Embassy of Senegal in celebration of the country’s 56th Independence Anniversary.
Director Generals of public and private sector institutions, as well as venerable and religious leaders of The Gambia and Senegal, were also in attendance at the independence celebration held at the residence of the Senegalese Ambassador to The Gambia.
In delivering the speech of President Macky Sall, after giving a warm welcome to the august gathering at his residence, Ambassador Saliou Ndiaye said April 4 is a day of remembrance, of rejoicing, and of cohesion for Senegalese.
This year’s independence anniversary is a symbolic moment of strong emotion, which takes place in the aftermath of March 20th, 2016 referendum, Ambassador Ndiaye said, directing the statement to his compatriots in The Gambia.
“That day, my dear compatriots, you, in an exemplary manner, through a democratic and transparent process, said Yes.
“Passionately, fervently, but without aggressiveness, the Gambian diaspora said “Yes” with a very large majority of 65%, through the seventy two (72) polling stations opened here in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia.
“But, my dear compatriots, our first task, first of all, here in The Gambia is, we have to remove our labels of the Yes and NO to be able to come together in a peaceful and fraternal spirit.
“Together, although we voted, despite all we have said during this campaign, we are Senegalese, equal before the law and we are all proud of the only victory that counts: that of our democracy triumphed on March 20, 2016.
“Together, we have to come in a peaceful and fraternal mind behind the democratic Senegalese decision and the President His Excellency MackySall.”
Professor Saliou Ndiaye said further that the ambition of President Macky Sall and his Government is to make Senegal an emergent country by 2025.
“The pace of the achievements of PSE will be maintained, but the challenge of President Macky SALL, for now and the future, is to enable Senegal to achieve food self-sufficiency, to eradicate poverty, combat unemployment, reduce inequalities, facilitate access for all to housing and health care,” the ambassador said.
Professor Saliou Ndiaye said making Senegal an economic emergent nation is a cause that appeals to all citizens.
“I, therefore, invite you to transcend our political differences and unite behind the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Mr Macky SALL, and the Government, headed by Mr. Mohammad Boune Abdullah DIONE, for the construction of the new Senegal, democracy certainly, but also prosperity, and justice for all.
“Time is, therefore, for unity around the essentials. With the help of God and your support, we will keep this commitment together.”
Veering into The Gambia-Senegal relations, Ambassador Ndaiye said he was convinced that President Sall and President Jammeh remain committed to the path of peaceful development, love of peace, commitment, honesty, and seeking harmony between Senegal and The Gambia.
“I want to say wholeheartedly how Senegal is and always will be a privileged partner for the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, with whom we have vocation to cooperate in all fields, with our assets and thus write hand in hand our common history.”
He added that the relationship between Senegal and The Gambia “is more than ever a partnership for the future, because our two countries who share the same fate, and who are facing the same challenges, need each other”.
He said the two countries have everything to gain to continue to maintain their relationship in the right path of the guidelines defined by the two heads of state in April 2012 during the first visit of President Sall to President Jammeh.
“It is to say that it is a natural relationship that looks to the future with the frankness that allows, enables, and justifies the cultural and geographical proximity that characterizes our links.
“This natural relationship is so close that it is growing stronger day by day, in real life.
“Senegal will continue always to advocate good-neighbourliness. My Office will continue to work with the Gambian authorities to explore new fields and ways to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation to a new level, fraternal and friendly relations of cooperation between our two peoples.
“I take the opportunity tonight, once again, to express my best wishes for the prosperity of the sister Islamic Republic of Gambia, for the happiness of its people and the health of its President.”
In her statement on the occasion, Gambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Neneh MacDouall-Gaye said it was an immense honour for her to present the “warmest greetings and felicitations” of President Yayha Jammeh, on behalf of the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, and on her own behalf, to the President, Government and people of Senegal, through Ambassador Ndiaye as they celebrate 56 years of the independence of Senegal.
She said the relations between The Gambia and Senegal predates colonization and the independence of the two nations.
“Your excellency ,there is indeed little need to reflect on our history or on the sacred bond between our two countries, because not only are these facts already known by every Senegambian, young or old, the attestation is in every single home here in The Gambia and in Senegal as well.”
She continued: “Your Excellency, the Government of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia has, since its first republic, nurtured friendly, peaceful and close brotherly relations that is typically expected of the two communities.
“This position of government is not only based on our belief in the need to nurture the fraternal connection we already share, but also because of our belief in the respect for the sovereign equality of states and our commitment and adherence to international law that governs interstate relations.
“Indeed, there are challenges faced by our two countries as a result of our unfortunate colonial history, but I must also hasten to say that the milestones and success of cooperation reached in our relations, ever since the independence of our two countries, as a result of this unbreakable bond that compels both the Islamic Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal to work towards lasting peace and strategic cooperation of our governments, in the bilateral and international stage for the mutual benefit of our two peoples.
“Your Excellency, our governments can only follow this path taken by our forefathers, who through difficult moments in our history, maintained peaceful co-existence based on respect and trust of each other. It is thus our duty to strengthen our historic singular relations.
“Your Excellency , allow me to once again convey the sincere commitment of The Government of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia under the distinguished leadership of His excellency Sheikh professor Dr Alhagie Yayha A.J.J. Jammeh, Babili Mansa, towards the strengthening of relations between The Gambia and Senegal.
“I equally wish to take this opportunity, on my own behalf and on behalf of the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey my enormous gratitude to Your Excellency Ambassador Professor Saliou Ndiaye and your entire Diplomatic team here in The Gambia, for your tireless efforts towards solidifying relations between the Islamic Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal.”