By Lamin Cham
President Adama Barrow has pleaded with the West African regional bloc Ecowas for support and partnership to keep the Ecomig forces in The Gambia until 2021.
Addressing a summit of the heads of state of Ecowas in Abuja over the weekend, Mr Barrow said:
“Given our unique situation, I re-echo the plea to this august body to extend the ECOMIG mission in The Gambia to 2021, when the transition process would have given way for the Third Republic to contribute effectively to our regional commitments”.
He said his government has progressed with the security sector reform programme, aligning it with the ECOWAS Framework in addition to a Security Sector Policy supported by a Security Sector Reform Strategy and a National Security Strategy.
“All these are outcomes of the strategic support of ECOWAS and other partners for our transitional programme. We appreciate this, and will continue to partner with you for the full realisation of the programme. The implementation stage, which follows, includes capacity building and right sizing the armed forces,” the president said.
Furthermore, according to the President, the Independent Electoral Commission is undertaking a reform programme to prepare for the 2021 election that will usher in the Third Republic.
“All these activities require a peaceful and stable environment. To this end, I thank our partners sincerely for supporting and sustaining the ECOMIG mission in The Gambia which is contributing immensely to the stability in the country and the protection of our fragile democracy.
Although our Community outreach programme and Institutional framework are being implemented, there is need for a robust environment to pursue the reforms to the end,” the president told Ecowas.
He urged the West African bloc to help keep the regional troops in The Gambia until 2021 when the third republic will come about.