Foreign Minister Gadio Rules out Prospect of Supporting Dissidents

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

In what is seen as a bid to reinforce the good brotherly relations between The Gambia and Senegal, Dr. Cheikh Tijan Gadio, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Senegal, has reaffirmed his country’s opposition to allowing any Gambian dissident who may want to use the Senegalese territory as a platform to either stage a coup or attempt to destabilize The Gambia, saying that such will be unacceptable.

Dr. Gadio, who was speaking at a press conference shortly after the signing ceremony of the joint Communiqué between The Gambia and Senegal, said Gambians could move to Senegal just as Senegalese could to The Gambia based on the spirit of strengthening the brotherhood and good relationship between the two countries but, he hastened to add, if they do so to destabilize The Gambia, Senegal would not be their safe haven. He further noted that “the same thing applies to the other side. When Senegalese want to use The Gambia as a platform to destabilize Senegal, President Jammeh will not allow that to happen.” Dr. Gadio disclosed that the two heads of state have the same understanding on what they need to secure the two countries.

On whether Gambians and Senegalese dissidents would be repatriated to their respective countries, Foreign Minister Gadio said: “When the situation gets critical whereby a dissident wants to do harm to the relationship between the two countries, a good compromise may be to ask him to leave the Senegambian territory and do whatever he wants somewhere else rather than use The Gambia or Senegal as a platform to attack the other country.

“That is the way we want to handle it. You know what it means internationally to handcuff a person who is asking for a political asylum and deliver him to a government that he has problem with,” he stated.

“The most important decision,” he went on “is not to allow The Gambia or Senegal to be used as a platform to stage any attacks against the regime of the other country.”

It would be recalled that since last year, 25 suspected MFDC rebels have been detained in The Gambia, nine (9) of whom are currently facing trial on charges ranging from terrorism, spying, transfer of arms and possession of Gambian documents.

On the other hand, some Gambian security personnel at odds with the Gambia government are believed to be currently in Senegal. Notable among them is the former Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces, Colonel Ndure Cham, the suspected mastermind of the alleged March 21st 2006 foiled coup.

Author: By Baboucarr Senghore
Source: The Point