Gambia, Philippines make oil exploration deal

Banjul- Gambia (PANA) -- The Gambia and the Philippines have agreed to carry out a joint oil exploration project in the West African country in a bid to lessen their dependence on expensive imported crude oil products, officials said here on Saturday.
President Yahya Jammeh's Filipino President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said they decided to work together to ensure that the scourge of high oil prices did not adversely affect both developing countries during their bilateral talks in the Philippines where Jammeh is on a visit.
Arroyo said Jammeh had offered her government to jointly explore the recently discovered onshore and offshore oil deposits in the tiny West African nation.
Arroyo said the offer was "a very big gesture of friendship" that Jammeh brought on his three-day state visit to Manila and has bolstered her faith that God has "perfect timing.
" "Yesterday, we were appalled to read about the unprecedented rise in the price of oil to US$59 per barrel and I discussed with President Jammeh about how important it is for us to address that issue because we are poor countries heavily dependant on imported oil," she added.
The two leaders further agreed to set up a bilateral consultative committee between their respective foreign affairs departments.
The committee is charged with implementing the signed agreement and promoting the countries' respective interests both regionally and internationally.
The agreement also substantiates the two countries' commitment to the new Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership signed in Jakarta last April.
Jammeh in his New Year message in 2004 announced the "discovery of large quantities of oil deposits" in Gambia.
However, some of his critics, particularly Gambia's opposition, have argued that Jammeh has been trying to politicise the oil discovery claim.

25 june 2005 20:16:00




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