By Adama Tine
Sheikh Omar Faye, Defense Minister has informed members of the National Assembly that it is good for the Gambia to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
He was speaking on Tuesday at the legislature while responding to concerns raised by lawmakers during the debate on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Minister Faye said it is for Gambians to decide whether the country ratifies the treaty or not, but his duty as defence minister is to tell the country that signing the treaty is the best thing to do.
He said signing the treaty will see the capacity of young Gambians built to ensure they can compete, participate and be appointed into offices across the globe.
“At least 185 countries have signed the treaty, 170 have ratified it, 11 have not signed and 26 in total have not ratified. So, the Gambia will now have to decide whether to be among the 185 nations that have signed the treaty or the 11 states that have not signed the treaty,” he said.
The minister urged lawmakers not to treat issues of defence with sentiments, saying that the signing of the nuclear test ban treaty is best for the Gambia. In that, he said they will start to have young Gambians as scientists who will sit in international conferences to discuss issues of interest to the country.
“This is a very important bill, honorable members. It is also an instrument of power because when you are part of these organizations, you have more leverage. This is for young Gambian scientists, who should now be given the opportunity to come to world platforms,” he said.
Faye said the treaty is about foreign policy and that there is need to have conferences and workshops for capacity building purposes on international best practices, which should correspond to national interests.
“I want us to move beyond the ideologies of the former Soviet Union and the Western powers. This is our future as Gambians who should build capacity to be able to be called scientists. This is why we are bringing this bill here,” he further said.