(JollofNews) – President Yahya of the Gambia Friday declared the European Union charge d’Affaires persona non grata and demands her soonest possible departure from the West African country.
Agnes Guillaud who was appointed to the post in September 2011, was asked to leave Banjul within 72-hours or face deportation after Mr Jammeh accused the European Union of meddling in his country’s internal politics and using its aid budget to pile pressure on the government to overturn anti-gay laws.
There is no immediate reaction from Brussels.
Relations between the EU and the Gambia date back to 1976 and is guided by the principles and objectives laid down in the Cotonou Agreement, the institutional framework which governs the relationship between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
The Cotonou Agreement, most recently revised in 2010, underpins relations between the EU and the Gambia in the fields of political dialogue, trade and development cooperation. Democracy and pluralism are the guiding principles which constitute the framework of the treaty. Key guiding principles of the partnership include contributing to poverty eradication, through attaining the Millennium Development Goals, consolidating democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In return for political reform and allowing democratic freedom, the Gambia gets millions of euros to fund its transport, rural development, water management sectors and governance programme.
But in recent years, relations between the Gambia and the 28-member bloc has come under increasing strain due to the country’s poor human rights record and President Jammeh’s anti-gay rhetoric and lack of respect to the rights of minority groups.
Last December, the EU withdrew 13 millions euros of funding from Gambia – the last slice of a 75 million euro aid package that was set to run for six years from 2007 for contravening an international accord [Cotonou Agreement] that stipulates aid can be delivered only in return for progress in human rights.