By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, and Gambians Abroad, Hon. Mamadou Tangara has told the National Assembly Members that the Gambia government did not sign any bilateral agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany concerning any sector or on any subject area.
“Nevertheless, I will like to clarify to this August Assembly that the Gambia Government has not signed any bilateral agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany concerning any sector or on any subject area, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, and Gambians Abroad is not aware of any such agreement document signed between the two countries.” Hon. Tangara said this in response to a question posed to him by Hon. Muhammad Kanteh, National Assembly Member for Busumbala Constituency.
During his supplementary question, Hon. Kanteh inquired about the factors that triggered the deportation of Gambians, especially in the absence of any formal document or agreement between the Gambian government and the Federal Republic of Germany.
In reply, the Foreign Minister explained that the basis for the deportation of Gambians was a document that had been mutually agreed upon by the Gambian government and the European Union in 2018.
Hon. Tangara further elaborated that this agreement was established as part of a migration program in 2018, marking the European Union’s initial engagement with The Gambia following the change in government.
“So it was agreed upon in 2018 between the Gambia and the European Union, not with the Federal Republic of Germany,” he replied.
Hon. Kanteh asked the Foreign Minister if the agreements had been signed.
The Foreign Minister, Hon. Tangara, clarified that the document was not an agreement but a memorandum of understanding (MOU), and that the message covering their agreement with the said arrangements was forwarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2018.
Hon. Gibi Mballow, National Assembly Member for Upper Fulladou West Constituency, then asked the Foreign Minister who was the signatory to the MOU.
The Foreign Minister responded that it was easy to verify who was the Foreign Minister in 2018.
Hon. Yahya Sanyang, the National Assembly Member for Latrikunda Sabiji, asked the Foreign Minister if it was true that the European Union had disbursed over 15 million euros to the Gambian government to help the returnees after the signing of the document.
The Speaker of the House ruled the question out, saying that it was “out of order.”
Minister Tangara acknowledged to the National Assembly members that migration is a fundamental part of human history and that it cannot be stopped.
“Migration is part of the human history, and there is no way we can stop it. So the solution is not deportation but to work on measures that will help to deal with this efficiently,” he said.
The National Assembly Member for Kiang West Constituency, Hon. Lamin Ceesay asked the Foreign Affairs Minister about the measures his ministry is taking to stop the deportation that the Gambia is currently facing.
The Foreign Affairs Minister responded that all of them agreed that deportation is not the solution, but when one exhausts all his or her legal remedies to stay in a country, he said even the Gambia is deporting people who are not compliant with the laws of the land.
The Foreign Affairs Minister made these remarks at the National Assembly on Wednesday, September 6th, 2023, while responding to questions put to him by the National Assembly Members on the agreement document signed between the Gambia government and the German government.