By Mustapha Jallow
A French naval vessel numbered ‘F790’, on December 9th 2017, docked at the Old Wharf of the Banjul port with the French Ambassador and senior naval officers on board.
Representatives from the Chief of Defence Staff including Senior Gambian Navy officers and soldiers who were led by Navy Commodore Madani Senghore, received the delegation. According to Military sources, the French Naval mission in the country is a state visit meant to strengthen bilateral ties between France and Gambia; that as part of activities marking the visit, a reception was held on board the ship on the same day, graced by the vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Madam Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang.
Speaking to local journalists in a short remark, General Denis Mistral, Commander of The French Elements in Senegal said the purpose of the visit, was to build partnership with GAF and to participate in the activities of the new Gambia.
Describing the visit, Navy Commodore Madani Senghore said it was a very significant visit for the Gambia and GAF. ‘‘The roles and functions of the navy are multifaceted. We have the military role, policing and the diplomatic and humanitarian roles. And the visit is to strengthened bilateral relations between the two countries,’’ he said.
He said it will also help in building capacity and capabilities and strengthen our cooperation to fight common threats such as insecurity and terrorism that happens in the region. “It’s also an opportunity for the French naval personnel to see the capabilities of the Gambian navy, to be able to build a strong relationship,’’ he said.
In conclusion, Commodore Senhore said that they will have other activities as some of the crew would visit the naval base and conduct some training and maintenance activities with their Gambian counterparts.