Jan 14, 2013, 9:43 AM
A three-day Senegalo-Gambia boundary commission meeting came to a close on Thursday at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
The meeting brought together senior government officials from Banjul and Dakar, as part of a series of such meetings held in both countries relating to the adoption of appropriate strategies and mechanisms for the sustainable management of the common borders between the two states.
It provided an opportunity for participants to discuss various topics, including a review of the demarcation process according to the African Union Border Program (AUBP) principles, review of projects on road maps, pending issues relating to border, elaboration of the 2013-2016 budget review of historical documents, re-drawing of the road map and review of documents including road maps.
In his remarks at the closing ceremony, Saikou Sanyang, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Regional Administration, Lands and Traditional Rulers, said since its inception, the Senegalo-Gambia boundary commission has had one of its most fruitful, and interactive meetings held under a peaceful, respectful, fraternal and brotherly atmosphere.
Sanyang spoke of the similarities, openness and transparency manifested during the technical presentations by both sides, particularly in terms of the methodological approaches to border demarcation and the contents of the various historical documents.
He stated that if the current momentum and spirit are kept, the desired results of the conclusive delimitation, demarcation and densification of our common border will be achieved by 2017, as enshrined in the African Union Border Programme.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to the judicious and prudent management of our common border.
Mrs Mariama Ndure-Njie, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who delivered the vote of thanks, said although Senegal and The Gambia have never experienced border hostilities, the work of the AU Border Programme must be hailed and saluted as a visionary move, to properly demarcate African borders by 2017, thereby eliminating the risks of disputes, which may escalate into armed conflict.
She noted that although the work of the German agency is recognized all over Africa, its participation in the African Union Border Programme is a major contribution to the efforts of the African Union, aimed at fostering peace and peaceful coexistence in the continent.
According to her, although the Senegalo-Gambia boundary commission meets under the auspices of the African Union, it must be noted that consultations between Senegal and The Gambia are always a family affair.
‘Our two countries are bound by family and blood and we are eternally united by a common ancestry,’ she said, adding that the series of meetings of the task force can only be amicable and proactive given the common belief in good neighbourliness and the ability to resolve peacefully, matters of common interest.
She noted that demarcation of African boundaries is not only an important task in avoiding inter-territorial disputes, but it is an effective way of addressing cross-border violations by traffickers, especially those who are involved in the narco-trade and other illicit activities.
Proper and secure boundaries, she went on, will also enhance national and regional security, as we will be able to demarcate and police our border while maintaining the African network on security.