The President-elect of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Cissoko Embalo who is currently on an official visit to Banjul emphasized the brotherhood relationship between the two countries, stating that they share the same enemies and friends.
Cissoko was a former Prime Minister before being elected following his victory after the run-off. But the results were contested by his rival, Domingos Soimoes Pereira who alleged electoral fraud. However, Cissoko told journalists in Banjul that his victory was held by the high court on Monday.
Highlighting the objective of his mission, he said the two countries share a lot in common. Hence, it is imperative to work together in the areas of security, trade, education, health, agriculture and tourism.
“On the issue of security, we are committed to work together. The enemies of The Gambia are the enemies of Guinea Bissau. The enemies of Guinea Bissau are the enemies of The Gambia. We have the same friends because we are brothers and sisters,” he told journalists at State House upon arrival.
As part of his sub-regional visits after his election, he recently visited President Macky Sall of Senegal before arriving in The Gambia today.
“I am here to thank my big brother for his advice and then to invite him to attend my inauguration – it’s going to be on February 19th. Gambia and Guinea Bissau, we are not only neighbors but the two countries are brothers,” Cissoko emphasized.
He said The Gambia is going to be his priority as a working partner. While serving as Prime Minister of Bissau, he visited The Gambia on numerous occasions geared towards strengthening the tie.
“All the Gambians are invited to Guinea Bissau. We are not going to need the laissez passer or anything between Guinea Bissau and The Gambia…finished. We are brothers. No border for Gambian citizens and Bissau citizens in Gambia. This is my decision but I don’t want to impose my decision. This is my decision because of the relationship between The Gambia and Guinea Bissau,” he stated.
The president-elect calls for an enriching relationship among the neighboring countries especially Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau.
“I think if we work together we are going to be more powerful together because if we have some illnesses in Guinea Bissau, our way is to Senegal. After Senegal is Gambia,” he said.
“Today when I spoke with President Barrow, my big brother, I told him now is time to make peace in Guinea Bissau and stability. Why? Here, you know, I don’t know how many people from Guinea Bissau are in The Gambia and that’s why I chose [to come] The Gambia and spend one night with my big brother to see and feel in The Gambia.
In the area of education, he strongly recommended teachers exchange programs between the two states to teach English and Portuguese respectively to boost the integration.
“I think Guinea Bissau and Gambia have a lot of things to do together. In many sectors, health, education and agriculture fronts and to learn from Gambia’s experience in tourism and the business community also. I told the president that once I am sworn in there will be no laissez passer between Gambia and Bissau and Senegal.
Guinea Bissau is known for conflict over the years. But according to him, that era has gone.
“Guinea Bissau has changed from now, Embalo claimed. Do you know who builds a country, “he asked. Are men! But it is also us men who destabilize it. But our generation, we are not going to make the same mistake because I know which kind of people elected me. If I am [watching] the video of these people during the campaign, I said I am not supposed to make that kind of mistake.”