By Kexx Sanneh
The Gambia’s Defence Minister Omar Faye tabled Four agreements before the National Assembly members for consideration and ratification between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and The Gambia.
The agreements are as follows: Cooperation in Military Field of Training, Technique and Science, Military Financial Cooperation Agreement, Implementation Protocol regarding the financial assistance and Amendment Protocol No 1 on Cooperation in Military field of Training Technique and Science.
In moving the motion the Minster asked the August Assembly do consider and ratify the agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of the Gambia on Cooperation in Military field of Training, Technique and Science.
“The Government of The Gambia has a long-standing bilateral relationship with the Republic of Turkey since after our Independence. The relationship continues to be consolidated, developing into diplomatic ties aimed at promoting stronger economic and security collaboration. This led to the signing of 4 (four) agreements between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of the Gambia in the area of Military Cooperation” he said
He informed the members that on 5th May 1999, a Cooperation Agreement was gained towards establishing and enhancing cooperation in Military Field of Training Technique and Science within the framework of the authorities defined by national legislation. The agreement spelt out the areas of possible cooperation which will serve as the umbrella for any other agreement between the two countries in Military cooperation.
“This agreement comprises an exchange of personnel, materials, equipment, information and experience in the following fields of Military domain:
- Military Training and Education
- Cooperation between the two Infantries (Land Forces)
- Cooperation between Naval Forces
- Cooperation between Air Forces
- Cooperation between Gendarmerie/National Guards
- Military Technological/Scientific Development
- Invitation of Observers to Military Training Exercises
- Logistics Cooperation
- Cooperation on Defence Industry
- Cooperation on Military Health Service
It has been agreed that further cooperation in other fields could be made in future through the appropriate protocols and diplomatic channels within the framework of this agreement”. He emphasized.
On the Military Financial Cooperation Agreement informed the members that the Military Financial Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of the Gambia was signed in Istanbul on 2nd May 2019.
He said; “under the protocol, the Government of the Republic of Turkey will provide the financial assistance in the amount of 100,000,000.00 Turkish Lira equivalent to 17, 000,000.00 US Dollars (100,000,000.00 x 0.17 USD = US$17, 000, 000.00) for five years while the Gambia will ensure that items provided under the agreement are not removed from the inventory and given to a third party without the prior consent and approval of the Government of the Republic of Turkey.
The Turkish Government has been supporting the Gambia Armed Forces in the areas of logistics, transportation expenses for visiting officials and more importantly training and capacity building support. Many Gambia Armed Forces personnel graduated from Naval and Infantry academics in Turkey”
Minister Faye emphasized that upon the ratification of this agreement, the Turkish Government will assist the Gambia Armed Forces in the purchase of military equipment, materials and services based on the needs of the Gambia Armed Forces.
He highlighted that during the new political dispensation in The Gambia, the Turkish Government was the first to partner with the Gambia Armed Forces by committing itself in helping the Gambia Armed Forces to secure the required military hardware equipment for military engagements and deployment. Additionally, Turkey is willing to airlift a battalion’s strength of the Armed Forces to build the necessary capacity without cost to the Government of The Gambia.
“I wish to inform this august assembly that the Turkish Authority has ratified all the four agreements I mentioned here today in this August Assembly. The Turkish Authorities are waiting for the ratifications of the agreements by the Gambian Authority”.
On the Protocol regarding the Financial Assistance agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of the Gambia on Cooperation in Military field of Training, Technique and Science.
He said the agreement was signed on the implementation Protocol regarding the financial assistance and Military Financial Cooperation under the framework agreement (Field of Training, Techniques and Science). This agreement was signed in Istanbul, Turkey, on the 2nd May 2019.
According to him, the Protocol seeks to implement the Military Financial Cooperation Agreement signed by the two countries, which Under Protocol the Government of the Republic of Turkey will provide financial support to the Gambia Armed Forces while the Gambia Government agreed not to give the military items provided to the Gambia under financial Cooperation Agreement to a third party without prior consent and approval of the Government of the Republic Turkey.
“The Turkish Government has been supporting the Gambia Armed Forces in the form of combat boots, night vision goggles, chest webbings, fragment jackets, helmets and haversacks. Turkey also subsidized GAF’s participation in all courses offered in Turkish military institutions”. He stated
“Once the agreement is ratified the Government of the Republic of Turkey will provide the Gambia Armed Forces with financial assistance in the areas of transportation, boarding and lodging expenses and training/course fees for the members of the Gambia Armed Forces on training in Turkey”.
On the final motion Amendment Protocol No 1 on Cooperation in Military field of Training Technique and Science between the two countries, the minister informs the members that the agreement was signed on the 22nd June 2012, between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of the Gambia on Cooperation in Military Fields of Training, Techniques and Science. Whilst the Protocol amended Article XIV of the Agreement on Cooperation in Military Fields of Training, Technology and Science Signed on 5th May 1999.
“It has been agreed in the Amendment Protocol that:
- The rights and financial commitment of personnel on a tour of duty assigned to the Cooperation Activities are to be borne by the Sending Party.
- The amendment protocol did not preclude personnel on a tour of duty and their family members from being compliant with the tax regime of the receiving country.
- The Receiving Party shall have the discretion to decide the nature of support to provide to trainees”.
He concluded that The Turkish Government has been assisting the Gambia Armed Forces by providing allowances to Gambia Armed Forces students undergoing military training in various Turkish institutions. The Government of the Gambia pays the difference between individual entitlements in terms of allowance and what is paid to them by Turkey.
The motion was seconded deputy speaker of the National Assembly who welcomes the agreement between the two Countries but was quick to raise a motion for the agreement to be referred to the National Assembly Committee on Defence and security for further scrutiny and report back the entire for consideration.
The motion was seconded by Hon. Halifa Sallah, member for Serrekunda who appealed to the Committee on Defence and security to have a session immediately to look into the agreement which was unanimously agreed by the members and motion was referred to the committee.