Ousainou NM Darboe, Gambia’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Int’l Cooperation & Gambians Abroad Thursday met with foreign diplomats accredited to The Gambia.
This is Mr Darboe’s first day at work as Foreign Minister after been sworn-in as Cabinet member in the new government of President Adama Barrow. He was among eleven Ministers in the new government that took the oath of office.
It is said the meeting was meant to strengthen bilateral relation between The Gambia and the world especially those with accredited diplomats in Banjul.
It may be recalled that during the 22 years rule of former President Yahya Jammeh, the Gambia severed diplomatic and bilateral ties with most countries especially Western nations and the United States. He had issued several persona non-grata to many foreign diplomats who where accredited to The Gambia and as well ended bilateral and diplomatic ties with countries like Iran, Taiwan and others.
After Mr Jammeh lost the election to President Adama Barrow, the United States Ambassador C. Patricia Pat Alsup and UK Ambassador Colin Crorkin were among the first foreign diplomats to visit and show solidarity with then President-elect Barrow despite the political impasse that engulfed the nation as Mr Jammeh refused to accept defeat.
President Barrow has since repeatedly pledged to uphold international law and protect human rights in the country contrary to the former government of Mr Jammeh which was marred by arbitrary arrests, detention, tortures, disappearances and killings.
As a positives response to this pledge, the European Union this week announced it will release 33 million euros ($35.6 million) in aid to The Gambia which was frozen due to human rights concerns under former President Yahya Jammeh’s leadership.
The EU Ambassador to The Gambia, Attila Lajos, confirmed to Newsweek that the funds would be released to President Adama Barrow’s administration, which has pledged to uphold international law and protect human rights in the tiny West African country.”
Severed ties under Jammeh
In 2007, Mr Jammeh’s government issued a persona non-grata to Fadzai Gwaradzimba, the most senior United Nations official in the country and asked her to leave with 48 hours.
Again in 2015, Agnès Guillaud, the European Union’s chargée d’affaires in Banjul, who was acting in place of an ambassador, was expelled and asked to leave the country within 72 hours.
In 2010, Jammeh’s government announced its cutting all ties with Iran and ordered all Iranian government representatives to leave the country within 48 hours.
On 14 November 2013, former President Jammeh’s government announced the breaking of diplomatic ties with Taiwan and its President Ma Ying-jeou officially terminated ties with Gambia on 18 November 2013 as a response.