Senegal-Gambia border talks break up

Dakar – A first round of Senegal-Gambia talks to end a three-month border blockade has ended without agreement amid an impasse over a long-delayed bridge project, a senior advisor to Senegal’s foreign minister said on Monday.

“We will consult our experts about the issue of the bridge, and the next meeting will be in July,” the advisor said after several hours of talks between Senegal’s foreign minister Mankeur Ndiaye and his Gambian counterpart Neneh Mcdouall-Geye on Sunday.

The advisor said the Dakar government would encourage militant truckers blocking commercial traffic to halt the standoff. “Senegal will work with those involved to re-open the border to traffic,” the source said.

The blockade, which has created shortages of essential daily items on both sides of the frontier, followed the Gambia’s decision to slap a hundred-fold hike on fees for trucks entering its territory.

The Gambia’s tiny landmass is completely surrounded by Senegal, and it is reliant on its larger neighbour to import essentials such as fuel.

The hike on fees came without warning in February, infuriating Senegalese drivers, and was later reversed.

Senegal’s militant transport trade unionists have told AFP they will continue their blockade until they win 24-hour passage across the border and clear progress on…

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