President Adama Barrow on Wednesday participated in the plenary forum of the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit hosted to explore and strengthen economic and trade ties between Africa and Russia. He joined more than sixty African Heads of State and Government and other leaders in business, development, and politics.

In his welcoming remarks, the President of the Russian Federation, His Excellency, Vladimir Putin said the economic forum is designed to build ‘‘concrete avenues of cooperation and further development of the Russia-Africa Cooperation’’.

President Putin stated that his country would seek to double trade with the African continent in the next five years, stressing that the current Russia-Africa trade level of $20 million is ‘‘not enough’’.

‘’I believe, we have the powers to easily double the volume of trade within the next four to five years, at the minimum’’, Putin said in a speech at the plenary forum of the Summit.

‘’We have many potential partners in Africa, lots of them. They have good development prospects and enormous growth potential.’’

. Later in the evening, President Putin formally welcomed the leaders with a State banquet.

Courtesy call with the new Mauritanian president

On the sidelines of the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, President Barrow received in audience the newly elected Mauritanian president, His Excellency, Mohammed Ould Ghazouani.

The two leaders discussed means of strengthening the existing good relations between their countries.

President Ghazouani took the opportunity to thank President Barrow for attending his inauguration earlier this year while indicating that he was impressed with respect and dignity accorded to the Mauritanian community in The Gambia.

In response, President Barrow cited the new leader’s inauguration as historic and exemplary for Africa, in that, it was the first time to have a peaceful and smooth democratic transfer of power from one civilian government to another in Mauritania.

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Honestly, I am smarting from the barrage of insults and other accusations of unseriousness, hypocrisy and corruption raining on my head and on the head of the TRRC over the past few hours. I must be clear that I DO NOT and WILL NEVER take offense at being insulted, even by people I have great respect for, in the course of executing my duties. But being human, I cannot pretend that I am not deeply hurt that people are hurling all manner of insults at me, Dr. Sise, and the TRRC because the Commission was requested to and facilitated a reconciliation event between two Gambians who, like everyone else, have every right to the services of the TRRC, whatever crimes they may have committed. So yes, I admit I am deeply hurt by the insults. But no, I do not take offense at all and I forgive everyone who is insulting me or will insult me in the future, rightly or wrongly. May God forgive and bless you and your loved ones now and forever. And may you never be insulted, called a hypocrite and a liar, or have your character questioned and disparaged for whatever reason. May God honor you all.

Having said that, and even as I smart and cringe from the barrage of insults, let me try to briefly explain the context of the reconciliation meeting between Edward Singhateh and Sanna Sabally. In essence, the TRRC is tasked by the Act establishing it “to promote reconciliation and healing” among and between ALL Gambians, not just SOME Gambians. So if any two or more Gambians approach the Commission with a request to facilitate reconciliation between them – as Edward and Sanna did – the TRRC is obliged by law to do so. Refusing to do so would have amounted to the Commission breaking its own law. And so while we knew fully well how sections of the Gambian public would react to such an event taking place at the TRRC, it was part of our mandate as required by the TRRC Act to do this, however difficult.

Issued by the Office of President

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Disclaimer: Views expressed in this section are the author's own and do not represent the editorial policy of Kairo News. Kairo News will trash any comment that inflames tribal, racial or religious hatred.

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