Thu, Nov 21, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Limited scale of aid ‘not in the Gambia’s interest’

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The messages brought back by the country’s last ambassador to the Gambia Samuel Chen (陳士良) yesterday was that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh considered the limit of Taiwan’s financial assistance for Gambia to not be in the “strategic national interests” of his country, diplomatic sources said.

In response to Jammeh’s decision to break off relations with Taiwan on Nov. 14 for reasons of “strategic national interests,” the Taiwan government on Monday announced the termination of bilateral ties to safeguard the nation’s dignity and the principles of its foreign aid policy aimed to stop “checkbook diplomacy.”

At a legislative meeting on Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said Jammeh had made “exorbitant demands” for aid from Taiwan, in an apparent move to confirm the assertion made by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) that Jammeh in January had requested more than US$10 million in cash without specified purposes.

David Lin told lawmakers at that time that the request by Jammeh was “unacceptable” and that “we were unable to satisfy his request.”

Diplomatic sources said the ministry yesterday reaffirmed that at the center of Jammeh’s strategic thoughts on national interests was the scale of foreign aid his country can receive from Taiwan and other donor nations.

Chen went to the ministry to report to Lin about the case straight from the airport. The meeting lasted five hours.

The stated purpose of Jammeh’s request of US$10 million was “national security,” which was more like a blank check than a project-orientated request that has to be implemented in line with the three principles — justifiable purposes, legal procedures and effective implementation — under the ministry’s foreign aid policy, sources said.

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