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Senegal offers Yoff Airport to park planes for OIC Banjul summit

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By Aminata S Kuyteh

In his latest updates on preparations for this weekend’s OIC summit, the Chief Executive Officer of the OIC Gambia Secretariat Yankuba Dibba, has disclosed that because of lack of adequate parking space at the Banjul International Airport some aircraft belonging to high-profile delegates attending the summit would be parked at the old Yoff Airport in Dakar, Senegal.

Ambassador Dibba, who was addressing the weekly government press conference, was however quick to dismiss suggestions that this arrangement has to do with problems of accommodation in The Gambia, arguing that the country can accommodate even more than 5000 delegates.

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He said the OIC secretariat is 100 percent ready to host the summit and that the government has disbursed over D400 million for the organisation of the summit.

“In terms of accommodation, we already have more spaces. Even if we are to receive 5000 guests in the country, we can comfortably house them without even the proposed 5-star hotel. The only problem is parking space for the planes since the airport cannot accommodate more than 15 aircrafts in addition to the normal scheduled flights. Therefore, under a cooperation with Senegal, we have been permitted to use the old Yoff Airport for parking flights for those heads of state who might plan to stay longer,” CEO Dibba said.

On transportation, CEO Dibba disclosed that about 400 vehicles are put in place for the transportation of delegates throughout the summit including 100 vehicles given to the Gambia by the Mauritanian government, another 100 bought by the Gambia government in addition to a D100 million given for vehicle rentals.

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Mr Dibba also revealed that catering will be fully provided for all delegates and each head of state will be given a team of chefs and waiters to serve them and the government of Morocco has intervened to take charge of catering and food for all the heads of state attending the summit.

“We have outsourced catering to feed all our delegates. We have enough food to feed all of them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, there is no issue with regard to food, no issue with regard to transportation and accommodation. Yes, challenges are here and there but we have surmounted all the challenges and there is nothing that will affect the summit,” he said.

The summit according to him, will have sessions for ambassadors and senior state officials, followed by a ministerial council meeting and meeting of heads of state.

Mr Dibba said the first batch of delegates including the secretary general of the OIC was due to arrive yesterday evening with over 300 delegates from Saudi Arabia.

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