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April 27, 2017

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Learning from severed ties with ex-African ally

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the Gambian president Yahya Jammeh has always been a controversial man who made a lot of decisions on his own without consulting with his aides or advisors.

Prior to announcing his decision to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan, he had made another surprising declaration that The Gambia would immediately leave the Commonwealth of Nations.

But the major reason for severing ties with the R.O.C. was probably because of the government's rejection of Jammeh's request for financial aid, the MOFA said.

Speaking during a Legislative Yuan session this January, Taiwan's ex-ambassador to The Gambia, Samuel Chen (陳士良), said the African leader in January 2013 had asked for US$10 million in financial assistance apart from existing cooperative programs.

Jammeh said the money would be used for national security reasons, according to Chen. But he never provided details about his request for extra aid.

The reason for the financial aid was too vague for Taiwan to grant approval, Chen said, citing government policy that all foreign aid programs have to be granted following due procedures.

That refusal was seen by the foreign ministry as the straw that broke the camel's back.

Amid accusation that Beijing could be behind Banjul's decision to end ties with Taipei, MOFA repeatedly stressed that this was not the case.

MOFA's Lack of Alertness

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