Foreign relations of the Gambia
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The Gambia followed a formal policy of non-alignment throughout most of former President Jawara's tenure. It maintained close relations with the United Kingdom, Senegal, and other African countries. The July 1994 coup strained the Gambia's relationship with Western powers, particularly the United States. Since 1995, President Jammeh has established diplomatic relations with several additional countries, including Libya, the Republic of China (on Taiwan), and Cuba.
The Gambia plays an active role in international affairs, especially West African and Islamic affairs, although its representation abroad is limited. As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Gambia has played an active role in that organization's efforts to resolve the Liberian Civil War and contributed troops to the community's cease-fire monitoring group (ECOMOG). It also has sought to mediate disputes in nearby Guinea-Bissau and the neighbouring Casamance region of Senegal.
On 25 May 2005, the Gambia announced its readiness to establish full diplomatic relations with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Gambia did not do so, however, citing international opinion.
In November 2010, the Gambia severed all diplomatic ties with Iran following the seizure of a suspicious arms shipment in Nigeria.
Gambia firstly established diplomatic relation with China in 1968 to the Republic of China (Taiwan), 3 years after gaining their independence from the United Kingdom. In 1974, Gambia switched diplomatic relation from ROC to PRC, but switched again back to ROC in 1995. In December 2006, the Premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) completed an official visit to the Gambia in part to pay respects to President Jammeh's inaugural ceremony and to donate funds for medical purposes. The Gambian Secretary of State reciprocated with an official visit to Taiwan. There have been several occasional official visits between the two countries. The People's Republic of China cut ties with the Gambia in 1995 after the latter established diplomatic links with the Republic of China (Taiwan). After 18 years, however, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announced the breaking of diplomatic ties with ROC to recognize PRC on 14 November 2013 citing national strategic interest, immediately even after receiving 6.6 million USD worth of aid from the Republic of China (Taiwan) earlier. The ROC officially terminated its ties with Gambia four days later on 18 November 2013. In an unprecedented move, however, the PRC did not respond to Gambia´s offer to establish diplomatic relations, presumably because of its desire to improve relations with Taiwan.
Both countries have established diplomatic relations on 17 July 1965. Diplomatic relations were later established once again after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Gambia has an embassy in Moscow. Russia is represented in the Gambia through its embassy in Dakar (Senegal).
An 1889 agreement with France established the present boundaries. The Gambia became a British Crown Colony, British Gambia, divided for administrative purposes into the colony (city of Banjul and the surrounding area) and the protectorate (remainder of the territory). The Gambia received its own executive and legislative councils in 1901 and gradually progressed toward self-government. It passed a 1906 ordinance abolishing slavery.
During World War II, Gambian troops fought with the Allies in Burma. Banjul served as an air stop for the U.S. Army Air Corps and a port of call for Allied naval convoys. U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt stopped overnight in Banjul en route to and from the Casablanca Conference in 1943, marking the first visit to the African continent by a sitting American president.
After World War II, the pace of constitutional reform increased. Following general elections in 1962, the United Kingdom granted full internal self-governance in the following year. The Gambia achieved independence on 18 February 1965, as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations.
U.S. policy seeks to build improved relations with the Gambia on the basis of historical ties, mutual respect, democratic rule, human rights, and adherence to UN resolutions on counterterrorism, conflict diamonds, and other forms of trafficking. In accordance with U.S. law, most direct bilateral development and military assistance to the Gambia was suspended because of the 1994 coup d'état. U.S. assistance continues, however, in the form of food aid administered through Catholic Relief Services, support for democracy and human rights projects, and the financing of girls' secondary education. In addition, the Peace Corps maintains a large program with about eighty volunteers engaged in the environment, public health, and education sectors, mainly at the village level.
The Gambia and the Commonwealth of Nations
- "Presentation of Letters of Credence". State House of the Gambia. 7 April 2004. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
- 'UK regrets The Gambia's withdrawal from Commonwealth' 3 October 2013 BBC News