The Gambia's President, Sir Dawda Jawara, defended oil-producing countries in an exclusive interview with Visnews Africa Editor Bill Ward in London, the United Kingdom, on Friday, 28 June.
LV INT Gambian President Jawara at news conference
CU Sir Dawda
CU Gambian High Commissioner
SV INTERIOR Sir Dawda Jawara with Visnews reporter
CU Sir Dawda interviewed (SOUND)
WARD: "Some African countries have recently criticised Arab oil producers for failing to respond to their African allies' need in time of oil crises. What is The Gambia;s attitude to the Arab producers?"
SIR DAWDA: "Well we are very cautious about this criticism because after all the Arab oil producing countries are developing countries possessing a natural resource which is a wasting resource--to my mind they are justified in feeling that in the past they have not been getting the right price for this resource--for the oil. And because they have also assisted the African cause by imposing embargoes on South Africa, Rhodesia and the other racist regimes in African and of course they are setting up this fund through the medium of the O.A.U. and the Arab League to assist African embers of the O.A.U. who have suffered, who have been hit by the oil crisis."
WARD:"The Gambia is one of Africa's smallest nations. Given that and the fact that it's almost totally surrounded by Senegal, how do you see The Gambia's political future? Will it retain its national identity?"
SIR DAWDA: "Yet, well Gambia has now been independent for ten years... for nine years. We will celebrate our tenth anniversary of independence in February 1975. We have not made a bad job of things and there is no reason why we should not continue as an entity -- historically we have been an entity for centuries. There is no reason why we should not continue as a separate independent entity. But of course in these days of regional groupings we are very interested what happens in our region."
Initials BB/1909 TA/AW/BB/1918
This film includes the interview with Visnews Africa Editor Bill Ward. A transcript follows:
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Gambia's President, Sir Dawda Jawara, defended oil-producing countries in an exclusive interview with Visnews Africa Editor Bill Ward in London, the United Kingdom, on Friday, 28 June.
Sir Dawda gave the interview on the last day of his ten-day visit during which he has signed a new loan agreement with Britain. The new agreement guarantees The Gambia a 600,000 pound sterling interest-free loan for development. Mrs. Judith Hart, Minister of Overseas Development, signed the agreement on behalf of the British Government.
Sir Dawda, who graduated in vetinary medicine at Scotland's Glasgow University about twenty years ago, spent four days on a private visit to Scotland before beginning his official visit.
Last week Sir Dawda and Lady Chilel Jawara had lunch at Buckingham Palace as guests of the Queen. British Prime Minister Mr. Harold Wilson also hosted a governmental dinner for Sir Dawda.
The Gambia is the nearest Commonwealth African country to Britain. It also has the oldest historical connections with Britain -- going back to the 16th century.