By Adama Tine
The Minister of Defense Sheikh Omar Faye on Tuesday at the Pentagon in Washington DC met with US authorities together with Mrs Chidi Blyden, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs (DASD) to discuss relevant ways and means to tighten the scope of security cooperation between the Gambia and the United States of America.
During the meeting, they discussed significant issues and exchanged views on a range of issues including capacity building for the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) and the security situation in the Sahel.
The Gambia’s defense minister however highlighted to Blyden the on-going comprehensive Security Sector Reform process in The Gambia, which he said has been inclusive, participatory and holistic to better address the security needs of all Gambians.
Faye further explained The Gambia’s willingness to continue to effectively participate in United Nations peacekeeping missions to promote international peace and security.
Mrs Blyden on her part praised The Gambia for tremendously achieving a lot of impacts in a short period of time. She also applauded GAF for their great job at peacekeeping missions and also for maintaining a beautiful record in their operations as blue helmets under the United Nations.
After the meeting, Minister Faye was given a tour of the Pentagon, which is the Headquarters of the US Department of Defense and one of the world’s largest office buildings.
Before his Pentagon meeting, Minister Faye who was accompanied by his Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Ndey Marie Njie and his Liaison Officer, Major Basiru Sarr visited the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies where he held discussions with the Director for Africa, Mr. Judd Devermont.
The discussions centered on capacity building for staff of the Ministry of Defence, the on-going Security Sector Reform, evolving security situation in the Sahel and collaboration in the enhancement of national and regional security networks.
Highlighting on his visit, Minister Faye described his engagements with the US authorities as fruitful and rewarding. He said all his meetings were with high officials in strategic US institutions and expressed hope that his encounters have created a better understanding of the Gambian situation and will facilitate deeper and more vigorous collaboration between military establishments in The Gambia and the US.