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City of Banjul
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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The Diomaye- Barrow meeting

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President Adama Barrow was gracious in his welcome of President Faye of Senegal. For an initial meeting with our most important bilateral partner headed by a President that was not his preferred candidate, he did his best to signal a desire to look forward. I give him credit for that effort and from what I can tell President Faye is keen to build a new and different kind of a relationship with our country. Our Senegal policy to date lacks rigor, direction and is not mutually beneficial. President Barrow needs an experienced independent Senegal hand outside of government to help him recalibrate our overall approach to this vital relationship covering a whole range from national security, trade, environment, foreign policy and maritime issues. They all need to be looked at by a clear eyed sophisticated person who has high level policy experience. This person can help in crafting position papers for the President and engage the different negotiation teams as well as the President himself to reset the relationship and try to get win win outcomes for both sides. We can build a model relationship with Senegal that can serve as a tangible reference point for the greater continental integration that is high on the Pastef agenda.

The two references President Barrow made regarding his uncle and President Jammeh’s deceased mum were unnecessary and unseemly anecdotes. Taking his uncle to Mecca and agreeing to the burial of Yahya Jammeh’s mother in her own country of Gambia should never be conversation topics to validate anything. I cringed when I heard him say what he said. He could have just said “you know Mr President my own uncle has lived all his life in Senegal and going by the high margins you scored in his area of Dakar, I suspect he was one of your patriot voters “and leave it that.

Karamba Touray

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