Wednesday, July 17, 2013

EU salutes The Gambia's agreement to resume political talks

The Article 8 Intensified Political Dialogue under ACP Cotonou Agreement have been delayed since January 2013 after The Gambia pulled out of talks amid EU’s growing concerns over the human rights situation in the tiny West African Country (Photo Credit: EU Delegation to The Gambia/July 11)
On Monday, the European Union, EU, welcome The Gambia's agreement to resume political dialogue.

The Article 8 Intensified Political Dialogue under ACP Cotonou Agreement have been delayed since January 2013 after The Gambia pulled out of talks amid EU’s growing concerns over the human rights situation in the tiny West African Country.

In a short statement on 15 July, the EU said the two parties were able to discuss a full range of issues of mutual concern, including security challenges in the region, and consequences of the introduction of bio-metric data for Schengen visas. 

They also discussed the political and economic situation in both the EU and The Gambia, including governance and human rights issues as laid down in the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement, and EU assistance to The Gambia.

Now, the EU said it looks forward to pursuing the political dialogue on the subjects referred above.

On June 8, the EU’s Managing Director for Africa, Nicolas Westcott, stressed at a press conference that “economic cooperation and political dialogue needs to go hand-in-hand and one must not be pursued without the other”.

Early this year, President Jammeh rejected the EU’s 17-point recommendations which include the reopening of three media houses, a stop to the arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists and human rights defenders and the trial of sexual minority groups.

The recommendations followed what the EU viewed as a “significant deterioration” in the human rights situation of the country.

A huge protest organized by the Government culminated in the official rejection of the EU demands by the country’s Parliament on January 21.

 
Written by Modou S. Joof
 
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