Welcoming the Gambian delegation, the czar of Russian diplomacy stated: “This visit has further deepened, expanded and cemented our bilateral relations with Russia in all aspects; a country that has been our strategic ally since 1994. We highly appreciate our long-lasting relations and next year we are going to celebrate the 50th anniversary in our diplomatic relations which were established in 1965. And since then our relationship has been developing on mutual respect which determine our views on our regional and international agenda. As well as in the years of fighting for African decolonisation, now we are also interested in your continent becoming more independent, developing more actively its economic bases and resources. We want to increase our economic and commercial cooperation based on our political dialogue. Our companies are interested in our cooperating in a number of spheres including the development of hydro-carbons on The Gambia’s continental self. Fisheries and tourism are also very promising spheres. And another important element in of our relations is education. We highly appreciate your visit and we are going to explore ways to strengthen our ties and make them better.
In reply, Mr Sabally said: “I am here as an envoy of His Excellency the President accompanied by the foreign minister, responsible for international cooperation. I took note of your statements which are very inspiring. The fact that Russia has had a strong presence on the African continent and you played a fundamental role in the political liberation of Africa, is a fact that is very much appreciated by The Gambia especially by our president. The Gambia may be a small country in terms of land and population size but we’ve had a very active role in the international community including enjoying of the UN presidency… Added to the strategic location of the country, and knowing the role Russia has played in the liberation of the continent, we are offering ourselves as a platform for a more active role for Russia, given the fact that Africa is now regarded as the new frontier in terms of global economic activity to make sure that Russia which has been a partner in the past when it was difficult becomes an even more significant partner as African countries begin the process of exploiting their natural resources in a more significant way and transforming the socio-economic situations on the continent.
“I bring a special message of gratitude and appreciation from the president for the role Russia has been playing in Africa, because my president is a very strong pan-Africanist and I noticed in your statement you mentioned the concept of mutual understanding in relationships – a concept The Gambia has been very much advocating in the current international set-up. This is the kind of relationship we value. We have a very strong tourism industry; we are well-endowed with heavy fishery resources and hydro-carbons. And in our search for credible and reliable partners, we believe that we could not have better strategic partners than Russia. We have enjoyed a lot of support from you. Scholars from The Gambia especially our doctors, surgeons in the medical field were trained here in Russia and mainly on grants for our socio-economic development. Even still we have our Gambian students studying in Russia; we enjoyed a lot of support and cooperation from you. We bring that message of gratitude and look forward to an engagement that would be even more mutually beneficial.” SG Sabally and his delegation have since returned to The Gambia.
By Ousman Bojang]]>