SENEGAL – GAMBIA BORDER STANDOFF HALTS

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Presidents of Senegal & Gambia

Presidents of Senegal & Gambia

The long boarder standoff between Senegal and Gambia is expected to halt today May 24th according to reports feeding in from Senegalese media houses. The border impasse which lasted for over three months started when the Gambia government unilaterally decided to raise tariffs for Lorries passing through the country to an exorbitant amount of 400,000cfa francs. The transport union of Senegal responded with drastic actions which involve avoiding the trans-Gambia route and barring Gambia vehicles from coming into Senegal.  The situation seriously affected the free movement of people, goods and services between the two countries.

Prior to the latest report of reopening of the border the Guinean President step in and mediated for the two sides to negotiate and find a lasting solution which resulted in Gambia sending envoys to Dakar about 2weeks ago to discuss with their Senegalese counterparts. A day before said meeting in Dakar the Gambia leader went on national television chastising Senegal for the border closure.  The meeting ended with Senegal putting up a number of conditions if the border is to reopen.  Some of the conditions include commencement of the bridge project and a return to the original tariff.  At the end of the meeting there was no indication that a decision has been reached by both sides instead a date was set for a next round of meeting in July.

Some observers hinted that there might have been behind the scene negotiation which culminated in Banjul backtracking on the tariff increase and may have given assurances to Senegal on the commencement of the bridge project which led to the reported reopening of the border today.  Observers also say Senegal is dealing with someone who hardly honors agreements and runs The Gambia like his personal property, taking unilateral decisions every now and then.   For now it is a wait and see situation.


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