By Mustapha Darboe
President Adama Barrow has said his government is open to any initiative that will bring peaceful resolution to the conflict in the south of Senegal, including allowing the rebel leader Salif Sadio to pass through The Gambia with his men to attend peace talks with the Senegalese government in Italy.
The Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) is the main separatist movement in the Casamance region of Senegal that has been fighting with their government since 1982.
Italy-based Community of Sant’Egidio, a Christian community with 50,000 members in more than 70 countries, has since brokered a peace talks between Senegal and the separatist.
In June, Salif Sadio told Zig FM that they want to reach out to The Gambia as a transit point to travel to Italy to have peace talks with the Senegalese government but Barrow said they are yet to make any official contacts.
“They have not made any official contacts yet. I have met an Italian priest who is involved in these peace talks and as far as we are concern, we will be part of anything that will bring peace in Senegal or its southern region Casamance,” Barrow told The Standard.
“It is in the interest of both The Gambia and Senegal. Without peace, nothing is possible. If there is anything like that, we will fully cooperate.”
The Gambia and Senegal have deepened bilateral ties since the fall of Jammeh, however, President Barrow promised The Gambia won’t be a party to a conflict it wants to solve.
“We do everything on principle. Principle is the guiding force behind whatever we are doing in this country… We want to do things that are correct and we want to make sure we protect the rule of law,” Barrow said when asked if Sadio won’t find himself in a trap if he attempts to transit through The Gambia given the very close relations between the two countries.
“We want to be judged for good things after office. If you want to solve a problem, you should not be part of the problem.”
“Jammeh gave us the facility to go through The Gambia to go to these negotiations in Rome,” Sadio had said.
“With the new authorities, we have not yet contacted, but the community of Sant’Egidio is worried.”