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Senegambia presidential council meeting recommends joint border patrols, others

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By Omar Bah

The Senegalo-Gambia Ministerial, Experts and Presidential Council Meeting has signed six agreements and made several recommendations to foster cooperation between the two countries. 

The meeting yesterday hosted the presidents of Senegal and The Gambia who renewed commitment to raising to a strategic level the cooperation between the two countries.

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The meeting also reflects the leaders’ desire to establish a confident, direct and permanent dialogue at the highest political level on all matters of common interest to the two countries.

On the sidelines of the meeting, the two heads of state had an indoor meeting where they exchanged views on bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

The two leaders also expressed satisfaction with the implementation of the agreements signed in the last council meeting in Dakar.

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The two leaders urged their respective governments to further the implementation of the two revised roadmaps with a specific deadline notably in the areas of defense, security, border management and environmental protection, economic exchanges and free movement. Taking into account the regional contest marked by the worsening of terrorist attacks and cross border crimes, the two leaders urged their respective governments to speed up the effective implementation of the joint and combine patrols along the borders, the exchange of intelligence and training.

The two presidents urged the authorities of defense and security forces of the two countries to closely work together for the effective and smooth implementation of the operational protocol on the right to cross border hot pursuit and joint patrols.

In the area of border management, the two leaders welcomed with appreciation the report of the Senegalo-Gambia cross border management committee which called on the two governments to jointly and closely work together and implement the decision relative to the roadmap.

The two leaders expressed their serious concern at the persistent worsening of forest deprivation and lost of wildlife resources of the two countries due to illegal logging and trafficking in timber.

The leaders also recognised the importance of the facilitation of free flow of trade and people to people change by the existence of the Senegambia Bridge and renewed their commitment with urgency on the two governments to immediately ensure the common border remains continuously open in order to promote the free movement of goods and persons in line with the Ecowas protocols. The heads of state also reaffirmed the vitality of land transport to the consolidation of the integration process between the two countries and the need for all stakeholders to respect the regulations of the free movement of persons.

The two further renewed commitment to full implementation and observance of the various agreements and protocols that facility and enhance inter-Ecowas trade and call on their two governments to intensify their collaborative efforts with a view to removing all technical barriers to trade and additionally make use of the existing non-tariff barriers online platforms as a multilateral monitoring mechanism for the mutual benefits of the two countries and their peoples.

In order to support these initiatives, the two leaders renewed calls on the two governments to accelerate the agreement of the observatory for abnormal practices on the Dakar-Banjul corridor.

Agreements

The meeting also witnessed the finalisation and signing of six agreements on double taxation for the prevention of physical evasion with respect to taxes on income, judiciary cooperation on civil and commercial matters, bilateral air service, MoU on domestication of the Dakar-Banjul air corridor, health and social welfare, MoU between the Senegalese Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce.

Following the signing, the two leaders reiterated their strong recognition of the several agreements signed between the two countries and called on the two governments to prioritise the agreements on cultural cooperation, economic, trade and investment as well as the existing agreements on education, economy, trade, business and investment.

In this respect, the two leaders also witnessed the signing of roadmap 3 “Senegambia Lenee Bokk” which aims to consolidate and reinforce the operationalisation and actualisation of the objectives set in these bilateral agreements for the mutual benefits of the people of the Senegambia region.

The two also tasked their respective governments to ensure a rigorous and diligent implementation of the recommendations and agreements resulting from the meeting.

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