Saturday, November 16, 2013

Gambia ends ties with ‘shocked’ Taiwan after 18 years



Taiwan regrets President Jammeh’s ‘personal style’

President Yahya Jammeh (in white) says Gambia will “remain friends” with Taiwanese people [EPA]
The Republic of China (Taiwan) has expressed shock and regret at Gambia’s decision on Thursday to sever ties with the country over “strategic national interest”.

President Jammeh’s Office, State House, said: “This decision has been taken in our strategic national interest.” Diplomatic relations with Taiwan began in July 1995, and had span for a little over 18 years.

“Despite the end of diplomatic ties with Taiwan, we will still remain friends with the people of Taiwan,” Jammeh said, citing the severing of ties takes immediate effect as of November 14, 2013.

On Friday Taiwan’s Vice Foreign Minister blames Gambian President Yahya Jammeh of taking the decision unilaterally, saying “Jammeh has his personal style.”

Personal style 

 “Our government express shock and regret that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh sent a letter to our embassy in Gambia on November 14 to inform us the immediate termination of ties,” Vice Foreign Minister Simon Ko is quoted as saying in Taipei on November 15.

“Jammeh has his personal style and we think this is Jammeh’s personal decision,” Ko said, but he did not respond to questions on whether China was pressuring Gambia to sever ties with Taiwan, according to media reports.

However, Jammeh said: “We are proud that we have been a very strong and reliable partner of the Republic of China [Taiwan] for the past 18 years, the results of which are there for every Taiwanese to see.

“Despite the end of diplomatic ties with Taiwan, we will still remain friends with the people of Taiwan.”

The decision comes one month after Gambia’s shock exit of the Commonwealth of Nations calling it a ‘neo-colonial institution’. It has since said the withdrawal is “final and non-negotiable”.

Taiwan has pumped millions of US dollars into The Gambia’s health, education, agriculture and infrastructure sectors, while Gambia has supported Taiwan’s bid for United Nations recognition over the years.

China has won over majority of African countries, a continent still dwindling in poverty and hunger blamed on bad leadership, by pumping in billions of US dollars in several development projects especially in infrastructure.

In Africa, Burkina Faso, Sao Tome and Principe and Swaziland are the only remaining countries that have diplomatic ties  with Taiwan, a country that broke-away from mainland China in 1949 following a civil war. China maintains Taiwan remains a part of its territory.

This story first appeared here on Front Page International, FPI.


Written by Modou S. Joof
 

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