By Omar Bah
A ten-man African Union (AU) team of Muliti- disciplinary experts led by the former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya, arrived in Banjul on a fact finding mission on how they can assist the country to confront its challenges on peace and security among others.
The team which comprises business, security, gender and economic experts will engage Government authorities and other stakeholders to map out ways on how best they can guide the country in these trying times.
Speaking to waiting journalists immediately after his brief meeting with the Gambia’s foreign minister, the head of mission and the AU special representative in Mali in-charge of the entire Sahel region, Pierre Buyoya said their mission is to help the country to map out strategies on how best they can confront challenges especially in the areas of security sector reform, dialogue and reconciliation and as well in the areas of economic recovery.
“We are an African Union delegation,
a big delegation for that matter representing different areas of the commission, security area, political affairs, gender and economic affairs.
“The purpose of our mission is to assess the situation in the Gambia and discuss with the authorities on which manners the union can assess the country,” he said.
He said the union has been informed that there are three areas of needs namely, security, dialogue and reconciliation and economic recovery.
Adding: “is through this we want to interact with the authorities to see their priority areas, after which we will make a report and take it to the union and from there we will come back with a proposal on how the union want to support the country.”
He said the delegation is also in the country as a political team to show solidarity with the country.
He continued: “In a nutshell, we are here to listen to our Gambian counterparts to tell us their areas of priority especially in the levels of technicians and implementation,” he said.
He said the team will also take time to interact with Gambia’s development partners such as the EU, ECOWAS and UN among others to see how best they can guide the country to avoid any mismanagement of resources.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ousainou Darboe expressed his profound gratitude to the AU delegation for taking time out of their busy schedule to answer to Gambia’s request.
He said the meeting was for the AU team to have a first hand information on Gambia’s needs in terms of security reforms, dialogue and reconciliation and as well on how the country can expedite its economic aspiration.