By Kebba Jeffang
Three ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Turkey and Guinea Biassau respectively, presented their credentials to President Adama Barrow at his Fajara office on Tuesday 8 August, as full fledge representatives of their respective countries, in Banjul.
They were received by the foreign minister of the Gambia, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, before the presentation.
Mr. Ismail Sefa Yuceer, the Turkish Ambassador to the Gambia, said his government wants to solidify the fruitful relationship that exists between his country and the Gambia, since independence. He said for long, Turkey has been supporting the Gambia on the areas of health and agriculture as well as fisheries. He described the relationship as significant to both countries because of its reciprocity.
“The mechanization of agriculture and the diversification of products, is very important for the Gambia. The techniques in farming could be extended by Turkey to the Gambia, because there are more than hundred faculties on agriculture in Turkey,” he said.
He said they will look for possibilities on investment in trade, energy and telecommunication too.
Yuceer has been a career diplomat since 1991 and has served diplomatic assignments for his native Turkey, in many countries. He arrived in the Gambia in November 2016 but the presentation of his credentials was delayed because of the political impasse, early this year. His diplomatic tour of duty as Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia will be for two years.
Meanwhile, Madam Sharon Wardle, the United Kingdom Ambassador to the Gambia, said representing her country is an opportunity for the bilateral relationship between the Gambia and the UK. She said they are aware of the long term commitments made by the new government which, she said, has challenges and promised the UK’s intervention for support.
“We have a long history of association with the Gambia and we also have one of the largest number of tourists coming to the Gambia to enjoy time on your fabulous beaches amid wonderful hospitality. We hope that will grow because its supports your economy. There are also Chevening Scholarships which was just launched as a scheme where the UK government helps the leaders of the future to come and do post graduate studies in the UK. There are multiple opportunities but let’s first and foremost build on our friendship,” she told waiting journalists outside the president’s office.
On the issue of Gambia’s return to the Commonwealth, Wardle said there is a process which is not a UK-led process for rejoining and that process is led by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
“When I spoke to the president just now I reassured him that the UK will do everything, to support that process. My sense is that everyone is committed to working for it to happen and it will happen very quickly,” she assured.
Ambassador Wardle joined the Foreign and Commonwealth office in 1985, and has had diplomatic assignments in Moscow, Beirut, Riyadh and Yemen, serving in various capacities.
The final Ambassador that presented credentials to the president, was Mailo Cassama, of Guinea Bissau. He said his government will bring a lot of experienced cashew farmers to ensure that Gambia also realizes the huge benefits of the cashew trade. However, he too expects assistance from the Gambia in helping the development of tourism in Bissau.
Cassama started his career as a banker in 1982, rising to become afinancial administrator. He became Adviser to the Guinea Bissau President in 2013, and a year later moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before his appointment as Ambassador.