President challenges Spanish minister on migration

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President Adama Barrow told the visiting Interior Minister of Spain that any progressive discussion on migration between Spain and the European Union, must take into account domestic socio-economic challenges facing The Gambia and other African countries.
President Barrow made the remarks during a courtesy call by the Spanish minister to the State House yesterday. He is in the country to discuss and strengthen bilateral relations with The Gambia’s Minister for the Interior, Ebrima Mballow, who accompanied them to State House.

The president said cooperation with European partners must include development strategies focused on building capacities to empower youths as well as strengthen the national economy for jobs creation in order to reduce the exodus of youths and the risks cross-border criminal activities.
While stating that The Gambia has a longstanding relation with the people and government of Spain, the president said his government is committed to advancing the ties from strength to strength.

Following the closed-door discussion with the president, Minister Fernando Grandea Marlaska Gomez spoke to the press reaffirming the position of the president on the migration debate: “We agreed that security should not be our only area of consideration… other social and economic areas are equally important to security. If we want to get a peaceful relations between Europe and Africa, we have to get into development.”
He added that Spain and The Gambia are going to work to improve the human resource base of Gambians, particularly security outfits in the areas of civil protection. He argued that fighting irregular migration networks and transnational criminal organisations such as narcotic networks are a common concern for both countries.

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The minister maintained that everyone has the right to live anywhere they want. “People should also be given the opportunity to live where they want. Therefore, Spain and The Gambia have to work together to be in equal partnership,” Minister Gomez concluded.

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