State House, Banjul, 31st August 2023: His Excellency President Adama Barrow Thursday received the new UN Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, H.E Leonardo Santos Simão, who is on a tour to acquaint himself with the work environment.
During the audience, President Barrow congratulated him on his role while stating that he came at a difficult time when the region is experiencing instability. The President referenced that when he came in 2017, all the Presidents of ECOWAS member countries were democratically elected and expected to deliver development for their people.
President Barrow said the Mali situation set precedence, saying, ‘’When some citizens are unhappy with their Presidents, the root cause should be addressed because the military is not a solution,’’ he observed.
The President also highlighted The Gambia’s human resource base and the expectations of the young people while urging the UN to be proactive in looking at challenges for Presidents to respect term limits and avoid unconstitutional changes.
He said the UN is an important partner and grateful for its support for the Transitional Justice (TJ) process. "Next is the implementation stage, and we need support for compensation and to make it a priority to facilitate reconciliation and the justice processes." President Barrow said, adding that TJ financial support should give reparation priority and not justice only.
The President also commended previous UNOWAS representatives for their support to The Gambia.
For his part, the UNOWAS rep thanked the President for supporting his candidacy. He congratulated the government for the progress registered in the TRRC and President Barrow’s encouraging citizen participation in the democratic processes. He pledged to work with The Gambia to consolidate the peace. H.E Simão added that Terrorism, violence and humanitarian situations are negatively impacting the region's economy and increasing poverty, which affects the youth.