On 30-31 August the UK Minister for Armed Forces, Rt Hon. Mark Lancaster concluded his trip to West Africa with a two day visit to The Gambia.
The Minister for Armed Forces met with President Adama Barrow where they affirmed the long enduring partnership and discussed the national reform agenda, focussing on human rights, political freedoms and security sector reform. He welcomed the recent appointment of the first Minister of Defence, Hon Sheikh Omar Faye in two decades and emphasised the UK’s commitment to a strong defence relationship. The Minister for Armed Forces also meet with the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, and the Chief of Defence Staff.
The Minister for Armed Forces also visited The Gambian Armed Forces Training School. In June 2019, for the first time in over a decade, the UK and The Gambia undertook a three week joint exercise focussing on infantry skills. The Minister for Armed Forces had the opportunity to see first-hand the benefits of this training and collaboration between the two nations.
The Minister for Armed Forces’ final visit was to the National Assembly where he met Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Chair of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence and Security. During the meeting, he stressed the importance of inclusive democracy, and heard about the Standing Committee’s role providing parliamentary oversight. The Minister reinforced the UK’s commitment to share UK expertise through the work of CPA-UK and Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Before departing the Minister of Armed Forces, Rt Hon. Mark Lancaster said:
“I am pleased to have been able to have made a visit to The Gambia to see the depth of the UK-The Gambia relationship, to hear about the progress being made on the transitional justice processes, including Security Sector Reform and to learn about important work the UK government is doing to support The Gambia’s democratic transition.”