Foreign Relations of the Gambia
The Gambia followed a formal policy of non-alignment throughout most of former President Dawda Jawara’s tenure. It maintained close relations with the United Kingdom, Senegal, and other African countries. The July 1994 coup strained the Gambia’s relationship with Western powers, particularly the United States. Since 1995, President Yahya Jammeh has established diplomatic relations with several additional countries, including Libya, the Republic of China (on Taiwan, before 2013), and Cuba.
The Gambia plays an active role in international affairs, especially West African and Islamic affairs, although its representation abroad is limited. As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Gambia has played an active role in that organization’s efforts to resolve the Liberian Civil Warand contributed troops to the community’s cease-fire monitoring group (ECOMOG). It also has sought to mediate disputes in nearby Guinea-Bissau and the neighbouring Casamance region of Senegal.
The People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America have embassies or high commissions in the Gambia.
On 25 May 2005, the Gambia announced its readiness to establish full diplomatic relations with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Gambia did not do so, however, citing international opinion.
In November 2010, the Gambia severed all diplomatic ties with Iran following the seizure of a suspicious arms shipment in Nigeria.
During the early months of the Libyan Civil War, the Gambia became the first African state to recognize the National Transitional Council as the sole legitimate representative of Libya.