Oct 14, 2008, 5:39 AM
The Senegalese High Commission in The Gambia Saturday celebrated the 53rd anniversary of their country’s independence at a reception held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
Senegal gained independence from France on April 4, 1960 and has since been having an annual observance of its Independence Day.
The event, which brought together top government officials, diplomats, members of the media as well as a cross section of the Senegalese community in the Gambia, was one of greatness that nations magnify to celebrate the great events of their history.
Speaking on the occasion, the Senegalese High Commissioner to the Gambia, Babacar Diagne, conveyed greetings of President Macky Sall of Senegal to his brother and friend President Yahya Jammeh and to the Government and people of The Gambia.
The Gambia and Senegal, he emphasized, are one people living in two states, because of vicissitudes of history, noting that the two countries share ties of blood marked by the similarity of the traditions, cultures and customs.
‘The Gambia and Senegal, indeed, it is all about a common history which dates back to the dawn of time. We must do all to make our cooperation a complete partnership model which could lead towards a socio-economic integration that could be worthy of emulation in Africa,’ High Commissioner Diagne told the gathering.
According to the top Senegalese diplomat, there is no need to recall that Senegal attached a particular interest to the quality of its relations with the Gambia, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Senegalese living in the country and working in peace.
High Commissioner Diagne also lauded the re-establishment, since February 2006, of the Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat which is a framework geared towards the management, monitoring and strengthening of relations between the two countries as well as the efforts of the Gambian authorities to make the effective start of its activities.
While reaffirming the strongly expressed will of both States to the facilitation of the free movement of people and goods, the Senegalese diplomat underscored the significance of a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 3rd August 2012 in Dakar Senegal between the Senegalese and Gambian foreign affairs ministers on the construction of the bridge on the Gambia river.
‘I am convinced that we can do more and better so that the relations between Senegal and the Gambia are always at the height of the historical, deep and stainless ties between our peoples,’ he said, while expressing the need to raise economic relations between the two countries to the level of the excellent political relations.
The situation in Casamance, he added, is of particular interest for Senegal and The Gambia, whose respective populations share in common, very deep socio-cultural realities.
He commended the strong commitment of President Yahya Jammeh to become more involved in resolving the conflict and to do his utmost best with a view to consolidating peace in this part of Senegal.
‘The commitment was evidenced by all the steps taken by the Gambian authorities under the dynamic leadership of President Yahya Jammeh for the release on 9th December of Senegalese soldiers detained for almost a year by fighters of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC),’ High Commissioner Diagne stated.
Further stressing that Senegal is ready to go as far as possible with the Gambia on the path of development, the Senegalese diplomat said the two countries share the same socio-cultural realities and are condemned by geography and history to continue to work together.
For his part, Francis Liti Mboge, the Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure, who spoke on behalf of the Gambia Government, lauded the excellent relations that exist between Senegal and The Gambia.
‘As we celebrate with joy and reflection, we should all give back thanks and praises to the Almighty God for enabling us to witness yet another independence anniversary of our dear sister Republic of Senegal,’ he told the gathering.
Mboge stated that the strong bilateral and people to people ties which characterize the relationship between Senegal and The Gambia is one that is unique given its strong emphasis on common history, heritage, culture, equality, reciprocity and mutual respect.
‘It is therefore not surprising that as we celebrate the independence of the sister Republic of Senegal, a number of Senegalese have chosen The Gambia as home away from home and vice-versa,’ he added.
According to him, the leadership of the two countries is searching for peace, progress and giving hope to the hopeless and this transcends beyond their borders to other parts of the ECOWAS sub-region and many trouble spots in the world.
The works, construction and infrastructure minister assured the Senegalese government that The Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh will continue the commitment and determination to ensure that the relationship between The Gambia and Senegal continues to be an example for others to continue emulating.
‘We have come a long way in that direction and the momentum generated will continue to ensure that we continue to cater for the dreams and aspirations of our citizens and others living in our two countries,’ he added.
The Gambia’s engagement and dealings, he noted, will continue to be guided by the cardinal principles of peaceful co-existence with all her neighbours, non-interference, sincerity with all, and fostering understanding between people and cultures of the world, especially with the sister Republic of Senegal and her people.