By Omar Bah
The newly appointed UK Ambassador to The Gambia Sharon Wardle has said the new era in The Gambia has opened new opportunities in the relationship between the two countries.
Speaking shortly after presenting her credentials to President Barrow, Madam Wardle said she is looking forward to working closely with the government and the international community in supporting a better future for The Gambia.
On the crucial topic of the Gambia rejoining the Commonwealth, Ambassador Wardle said: “There is a process, which is not a UK-led process for rejoining and that process is underway at the moment. It is led by the Commonwealth secretariat in London. I spoke to the president just now and I reassure him that the UK government and I will do everything to support that process.
“My sense is that everyone is committed to making it happen and I hope it would happen very quickly.
“The new dispensation is a new opportunity for the two countries’ bilateral relationship and I also think the Gambia have a government which is really committed to the long-term future of the country.”
The Ambassador also said Britain is committed to supporting the government, civil society and the people in addressing some of these challenges. “What strikes me since I arrived here is the real sense of optimism and commitment of the Gambians and President Barrow,” she said.
Ambassador Wardle further disclosed that the UK is already providing assistance to The Gambia in the justice system and National Assembly among others to ensure the effectiveness of the institutions.
“We are also active members of the international community and through our support to the UN, World Bank and the EU we are contributing to programs and activities across range of sectors,” she said.
The Ambassador said Gambia should expect true friendship with the UK. “We have a long history of association with the Gambia and we also have the biggest number of tourists coming to the Gambia. We hope that will continue to grow because it supports your economy.
“There are also other multiple areas of cooperation and I will want to mention the scholarship program that is just been launched by the UK to support future leaders to come to the UK for a year postgraduate studies. I think there are multiple of opportunities for Gambia to benefit,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Ambassador Ismail Sefa Yuceer who also presented his credentials to the Gambian leader yesterday said his government is committed to fortifying the relations between the two nations.
“Gambia and Turkey need the assistance of each other today more than ever. So if the relationship is improved it will benefit both nations. The two ministries of Agriculture have already signed an MoU in May and I believe through that we can exchange a lot in the areas of agriculture,” he said.
In another development, the new Guinea Bissau Ambassador to the Gambia Bailo Cassama was also at the presidency to present his credentials to the Gambian leader.