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The Gambian Diplomatic Community Tuesday paid courtesy call on the President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow at Kairaba Beach Hotel, with a pledge to deliver to spur Gambia’s development strides.
President Adama Barrow, said history has been made through the change of Government through ballot box.
“We contested election based on true democratic principles. We have nothing personal against anybody. The Government has changed and The Gambia must continue. We encourage you to work harder; everybody’s hand should be on deck for the country to move forward,” the president remarked.
He commended the Ambassadors for taking the decision to ask former leader Yahya Jammeh to step down. He said the decision was taken with the aim of preserving the supreme interest of the country. He indicated that the former Government lost lot of development aids owing to its negligence to democratic principles.
Hon Ousainou Darboe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, said the courtesy call was meant to initiate familiarisation between the Ambassadors and the President. He added that the constitutional responsibility of shaping and implementing foreign policy lies squarely on the shoulders of the President.
He said the rest of them were given functions within the ambit of that foreign policy. This he added made it important for the President to familiarise himself with those Ambassadors who were entrusted with the responsibility of representing The Gambia abroad.
“Each Ambassador is a personification of The Gambia in the regions where they represent The Gambia,” he said.
He revealed that they have started the process of looking at the foreign policy of the country. “There cannot be better participants and contribution to the formulation of that foreign policy better than you. We will afford each Ambassador the document to have your input so that we will have a foreign policy document that will encapsulate the views of Ambassadors.”
Hon Darboe said central to the country’s foreign policy is the protection of human rights. He recalled that in the first Republic, The Gambia had prided itself as the human rights advocate throughout the world and that earned the country the respect of the world. This lost glory, he said, cannot be regained without the input of the Ambassadors in the document. He urged them to promote human rights and democratic values at international fora.
He acknowledged the quality and the sterling services the Ambassadors rendered to The Gambia, noting that they have acquitted themselves as pro Gambians.
“When there was need to support Gambians, you do not behave in any partisan way. You demonstrated your loyalty and supported the verdict of the Gambian people, and we are grateful to you. The impasse could have been prolonged but with the steps that you have taken, helped shortened the impasse and accelerated our accession to office,” Hon Darboe said.
His Excellency Dembo Badjie, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corp and the Ambassador to China, said it was obvious that on the 2nd December, The Gambia was put on the World Map for all the good reasons, but on the 9th December when Jammeh rejected the result, The Gambia was put on the World Map for all the wrong reasons.
He added: As representatives of The Gambia abroad when we see that the image of The Gambia is being tarnished around the world as a result of the intransigence of the former leader, we as representatives felt we are professionally and morally bound to speak out because we continue to serve the supreme interest of The Gambia. And we took a decision to write to the former president to step down and ensure that there is peaceful transfer of power to President Adama Barrow in accordance with the will of the Gambian people. We still standby our decision.”
Ambassador Badjie thanked the President for reinstating them to their positions, while pledging loyalty in serving the supreme interest of The Gambia.
Mr. Lamin Faati, Permanent Secretary (II) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, in a short statement said the diplomats are expected to represent The Gambia’s interests abroad; to engage in economic diplomacy; to encourage investors; to encourage tourists; to encourage services to come to The Gambia.
PS Faati said further challenged his colleagues to work hard to bring development aid and technical cooperation to The Gambia and look after Gambians abroad.
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