(JollofNews) – The Gambia has again cancelled political dialogue with the European Union accusing the 28-member block of trying to impose an ‘acceptance of homosexuals’ as a precondition for aid.
The EU is the Gambia’s biggest donor and has pumped some 75 million euros of aid into the West African country over the past six years. It is also planning to double aid to the Gambia to 150 million euros (£122.8 million) over the next seven years.
In return for the aid, the Gambia is expected to improve its human rights record, democratic principles and good governance.
But in a surprise move, the Gambia said it is saying goodbye to the bi-annual talks with the EU that are held under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, the framework for development cooperation between the EU and members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
The dialogue offers a platform for consultations over a broad range of issues, as well as an opportunity to take stock of progress made concerning respect for human rights, rule of law, democratic principles and good governance.
In a statement read on state television on Saturday night, the country’s minister of Foreign Affairs, Bala Garba Jahumpa said the Gambia’s socio-economic development depends only on the benevolence of god and they will not be bullied into legalising homosexuality in return for foreign aid.
“We the government and people of the Gambia hereby make it very clear to the European Union and any outside bloc that wants to impose acceptance of homosexuals as a precondition for aid that we will never accept that conditionality no matter how much aid is involved,” the minister said.
“As from today, we are no longer going to entertain any dialogue on the issue with the European Union or any other foreign power for that matter. Our country’s socio-economic development depends only on the Almighty Allah’s benevolence. We also hereby declare that the Gambia will always be an independent, dignified and Allah worshipping Muslim country where our way of life; our laws will be based on our Islamic values, that is, the strict adherence to our Islamic faith. This being the case, any agreement, convention or protocol that is at variance with our Islamic faith, economic prosperity and our national security interest will be surely rejected outright.”
The Gambia said it is a Muslim dominated country and would not be tied to any bloc that promotes ‘decadence and ungodly behaviour like homosexuality that are not only Satanic, but detrimental to human existence.
This is the second time the Gambia is pulling out of dialogue with the EU. In January 2013, the Jammeh regime suspended talks with the EU after accusing the 28-member block of trying to destabilise Gambia and to create a puppet government. The decision was however rescinded six months later.
There is no immediate response from the EU, but there are fears that it may take tougher measures against the Jammeh including the cancellation of aid.