Gambia new president Adama Barrow said that his country was ready to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Commonwealth, two international organisations his predecessor Yahya Jammeh abandoned when he was in power.
Barrow, a former security guard and real estate agent, made the announcement during a visit to the West African nation by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Johnson’s trip is the first for a British top diplomat since Jammed took power in a coup 22 years ago.
The move, he said, is intended to repair damage done to the country’s foreign relations under former the former leadership. Jammeh had removed his country from the association of former members of the British Empire in 2013 after calling it an extension of colonialism.
“We are very pleased that Gambia wants to rejoin the Commonwealth and we will ensure this happens in the coming months,” Johnson, a controversial figure who backed Brexit, said in the capital Banjul.
However, the reintegration of Gambia into the ICC comes at a time when the African Union is considering a withdrawal in bloc from the Statutes of Rome institution.
It remains unclear if the government of Gambia will support such a move, seen by experts as ill-conceived and unreasonable.
Meanwhile, the European Union said last week that it would set aside the amount of US$80 million to help Gambia build the capacity of the state, increase food security and boost jobs. Brussels suspended aid to Gambia over Jammeh’s bad governance and human rights abuses two years ago, and Jammeh responded by deporting the EU ambassador in 2015.
(DW/dpa/Reuters/Sifa News, additional reporting and final editing by Issa Sikiti)
Photo: New President Yahya Jammeh. Credit: DW/dpa/Reuters