19 January 2017 - Gambia: Adama Barrow is the legitimate President of The Gambia [fr]
Resolution on Gambia - Explanation of vote by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 19 January 2017
France welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2337 (2017). My delegation thanks Senegal warmly for its leadership. From the beginning, France supported the efforts led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its African partners.
The 1 December elections in The Gambia were carried out in a way that is beyond reproach. They illustrate a phenonemon that may be commonplace elsewhere, but that is nonetheless extraordinary in West Africa. Democratic governance and respect for the will of the people are now taken for granted — a situation that none would wish to reverse. Last year, six of the 10 elections in the region led to a transition in power. Elections are taking place in a tranquil atmosphere and there is no thought of questioning their legitimacy. I am referring to Ghana, as the most recent example, but also to Nigeria, the Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso.
In The Gambia, the challenging of the results of the election by President Jammeh — even though he himself recognized them — was unanimously condemned by Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the Security Council. They all called on Mr. Jammeh to respect the sovereign decision of his people and to agree to hand over power to President Barrow, in accordance with the Gambian Constitution. Since then, the countries of the region have spared no effort to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis, pursuant to the charters of ECOWAS and of the African Union. The Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS met on 17 December. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union met on 13 January specifically to deal with this topic. And the Security Council adopted a clear presidential statement (S/PRST/2016/19) on the matter.
France commends the tireless efforts of ECOWAS, the mediation efforts of President Buhari, President Johnson-Sirleaf, and President Mahama, who visited Banjul and have been in constant contact with Gambian stakeholders. In particular, we commend the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, who has done everything in his power to ensure a peaceful transition. We also welcome the efforts of Morocco and Mauritania, which, in a final push, used their diplomatic skills to ensure that President Jammeh accepted to step down from office in a dignified way at the end of his term.
We often refer in the Security Council to the need to strengthen preventive diplomacy. The Gambian crisis is an excellent example in that regard. No effort was spared by any of the actors involved to achieve a peaceful transition of power to the President-elect. At present, Mr. Jammeh continues to refuse to heed theoe appeals, in spite of all the guarantees provided by his successor to accord him the respect due him as former President of the Republic. Mr. Barrow took the oath of office this morning and today he is the legitimate President of The Gambia. That is why France thought that it was essential for the Security Council to make its position known and to adopt a resolution that sends a clear message to Mr. Jammeh today. We welcome the fact that resolution 2337 (2017) was adopted unanimously and that the Security Council has thereby expressed its full support to the efforts of the region to resolve this crisis.