Panafrican News Agency

UK Minister of Armed Forces ends West African tour in Gambia

Banjul, Gambia(PANA) -  British Minister for Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster on Saturday completed a three-nation tour of West Africa after meeting Gambian President Adama Barrow in Banjul.


Lancaster visited Ghana, The Gambia and Senegal to highlight the importance of West Africa to the UK and strengthen defence ties


At the State House in Banjul, the minister called on President Barrow to affirm the long enduring partnership and discussed the national reform agenda, focusing on human rights, political freedoms and security sector reform.


According to a statement issued by the British High Commission here, Lancaster welcomed the recent appointment of the first Minister of Defence, Sheikh Omar Faye, emphasising the UK’s commitment to a strong defence relationship. 


Lancaster also met with the Gambian Attorney General and Minister for Justice, and the Chief of Defence Staff. He visited The Gambian Armed Forces Training School.


In June 2019, for the first time in over a decade, the UK and The Gambia undertook a three-week joint exercise focusing on infantry skills.


Lancaster had the opportunity to see first-hand the benefits of this training and collaboration between the two nations. 


He also visited the National Assembly where he met Deputy Speaker and Chair of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence and Security, Laamin Sanneh.


During the meeting, he stressed the importance of inclusive democracy, and heard about the Standing Committee’s role providing parliamentary oversight. The minister reinforced the UK’s commitment to share UK expertise through the work of CPA-UK and Westminster Foundation for Democracy. 


“I am pleased to have been able to have made a visit to The Gambia to see the depth of the UK-The Gambia relationship, to hear about the progress being made on the transitional justice processes, including Security Sector Reform and to learn about important work the UK government is doing to support The Gambia’s democratic transition,” Lancaster said.

-0- PANA MSS/AR 31Aug2019