By Tabora Bojang
The process of downsizing Gambia’s diplomatic missions as part of efforts to cut government spending has commenced, the Communications Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad Saikou Ceesay confirmed to The Standard.
Asked about the names of missions identified or have already been closed, Saikou Ceesay replied: “The entire process is on and that is what the ministry can say for now.”
It comes weeks after the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mamadou Tangara informed National Assembly Members that two foreign missions are identified for closure as a temporary measure amid financial constraints, even though the ministry of finance recommended for more.
“We are going to close some of them temporarily but when our financial conditions are better, we will even think of opening embassies elsewhere like in Japan and Scandinavia,” he said.
Tangara said the Ministry has also taken steps about the fate of the diplomatic servants whose services have been terminated and are yet to return, adding that prerequisite arrangements for their repatriation are being made.
The Gambia has 26 foreign missions operating in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Ethiopia, France, Turkey, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Spain, Malaysia, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, India, China, UAE, United States, United Nations and UN office in Geneva.