By:Kebba AF Touray
Momodou Tanagra, Gambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, on Tuesday told legislators that the Foreign Affairs Ministry issued 578 diplomatic passports in 2017.
He disclosed this in response to a question raised on behalf of the Kombo South legislator, Kebba K Barrow, who was not in Parliament.
The question reads: “can the Foreign Affairs Ministry furnish this august assembly a comprehensive list of names and addresses of Gambians issued diplomatic passports from January 2017 to end February 2019”.
Minister Tangara replied: “The Ministry issued 578 diplomatic passports and 320 service passports in 2017. In 2018, the Ministry issued 448 diplomatic passports and 333 service passports. This results over the reference period from January to December 2018 to a total of one thousand and twenty-six (1026) diplomatic passports and six hundred and fifty-three (653) service passports?”
Ousman Sillah asked: “Is the Foreign Affairs Ministry considering setting up Ministerial Taskforce with stakeholders to support Gambian migrants including both the returnees and those presently in Europe?”
Minister Tangara said his Ministry began work with stakeholders such as IOM, Immigration Department, Interior Ministry among others, in addressing the issues of migrants for quite a long time ago.
He added that at the moment, Gambians have agreed to support migrants with education, training and coaching to set up small scale enterprises, and collaborate with private businesses to help migrants with internship.
He continued, “Migrants will receive total payment of EURO 5300 per family and a further reintegration support package amounting to EURO 2000.”
Halifa Sallah asked the minister, “Is the Ministry aware of the Gambian Asylum cases in Germany, if so is the government working with those governments to implement their policy and if not what is the government doing to avert a crisis, which is being fuelled by the unilateral migration policy of our development partners?”
Minister Tangara responded that the government has not received any formal communication from German Authorities regarding the statistic. He added the Foreign Affairs Ministry is aware of the current repatriation saga from Europe and in particular Germany.
“It is never a policy of this government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collaborate with foreign partners to return our citizens and it is quite the contrary as manifested by the Ministry in putting in place a moratorium in the form of a note verbal address to our counterpart via the German Embassy in Dakar”, said Minister Tangara.