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GAMBIA: STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. ADAMA BARROW PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA AT THE SAUDI – AFRICA SUMMIT

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Your Majesty, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques,

Your Royal Highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister,

Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,

Your Excellency, President of the United Republic of Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union,

Your Excellency, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,

Honourable Ministers,

Distinguished Guests,

While acknowledging the honour of addressing this Summit, I applaud the efforts we have made to sustain the excellent fraternal ties between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and The Gambia.

Our laudable and mutually beneficial consultative and cooperation initiatives clearly manifest this.

Mr Chairman,

Our shared values have cemented our relations as members of many global and regional organisations to uplift human dignity and improve our socio-economic environment. Through such networks, we continue to re-new our commitment to the cause of humanity, peace, and stability.

In this respect, we thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their numerous humanitarian interventions in The Gambia and invaluable contributions to the welfare of our people. In particular, we thank the Kingdom for all the funding we received through the Saudi Fund for Development to host the 15th OIC Summit in The Gambia.

Mr. Chairman,

The Gambia supports the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to host the 2030 EXPO, and we are glad that it has acquired the right to do so. Equally, the Kingdom deserves hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2034. We congratulate them heartily!

I must, at this Summit, reiterate our continued solidarity with the Kingdom to confront threats against its sovereignty and security.

Also, we support their efforts to normalise relations with their neighbours. As peace loving countries, The Gambia and Saudi Arabia share a similar vision for global peace.

We thus commend the Kingdom for their peace endeavours in Sudan and appreciate the evacuation to Jeddah of Gambian nationals trapped in Khartoum at the outbreak of the conflict.

Mr. Chairman,

Following the Air Transport Services and Bilateral Cooperation signed between our two countries, The Gambia looks forward to new openings to boost our relationship through Agreements on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Recruitment of Public and Domestic Workers.

In addition, signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Exemption of Visa for Saudi Nationals will further enhance travel and investment opportunities in The Gambia.

Like the Kingdom under its “Vision 2030”, The Gambia Government is prioritising such sectors as agriculture, the digital economy, and tourism to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Additionally, to attract more domestic and Foreign Direct Investments, we have legal frameworks that guarantee the protection of investments and businesses in The Gambia.

Mr. Chairman,

Hosting the Saudi-Africa and Arab-Africa Summits in Riyadh indicates commitment to the development aspirations of Africa. I hope the Summit will build on the foundation already laid between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the continent and will take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area initiative. We expect that it will also unlock the potential of millions of people to contribute to the continent’s sustainable economic development goals.

Mr. Chairman,

The Gambia supports the UN Resolution calling for the unconditional ceasefire and release of all hostages. Likewise, we call for an International Peace Conference for Comprehensive Peace to resolve the fight for a Two-State Solution, with Palestinians and Israelis living side-by-side in peace and harmony. Meanwhile, we wish our Palestinian brothers and sisters victory in their quest for Sovereignty and full Independence.

Finally, I express sincere gratitude and appreciation to The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, His Royal Highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for their exceptional hospitality.

Long live the Saudi – Gambia relationship! Long live Saudi – Africa friendship and cooperation!

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