Published: Sun, February 19, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

New Gambian president thanks unified nation, promises reform

New Gambian president thanks unified nation, promises reform

Barrow was sworn-in by the new Chief Justice, Justice Hassan Jallow.

Adama Barrow has been sworn-in as president on Gambian soil, marking the end of a tense political standoff with the West African nation's former leader.

President Sall is a guest of honour at the ceremony, while Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who pushed for mediation efforts with Jammeh during his last days in office, is also expected.

We also feel happy to come and celebrate this day as our Independence Day.

An accomplished property developer, Barrow had never held public office before winning the presidential election.

Under pressure from regional powers, he went into exile in Equatorial Guinea.

He has promised a new dawn for the country, which was ruled with an iron fist by Yahya Jammeh.

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He has committed to stay in the International Criminal Court and rejoin the Commonwealth.

"We inherited an economic decline", Barrow said, adding that the political impasse saw businesses shut down, more than 50,000 people flee and over 126,000 become displaced internally.

The coalition party which backed his candidacy was formed, Barrow said, "to ensure that we'll be one Gambia, one nation, one people".

The global community has quickly warmed to Mr Barrow's approach, with the European Union recently announcing an 80 million dollar (£64 million) package of support after breaking off assistance amid tensions with Mr Jammeh. The regional force has secured the country during the transition, which has remained peaceful.

USA and British diplomats were finding it hard to enter the stadium, an AFP correspondent reported, as people who had not been able to get inside massed against a heavy security presence.

Many Senegalese live in Gambia.

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