by Staff Writers
Dakar (AFP) Jan 4, 2011
Gambia and Senegal said Tuesday there was no cloud hanging over their relationship after a diplomatic spat over a shipment of Iranian weapons intercepted in Nigeria and believed bound for Gambia.
In November 2010, Nigeria reported to the UN Security Council its find of 13 containers of weapons, including rockets and grenades, shipped from Iran and believed destined for the Gambia, a sliver of a country surrounded by Senegal.
Senegal subsequently raised concerns about regional peace, and feared the arms may be destined for rebels seeking independence for the Casamance in southern Senegal.
This led to a war of words with the Gambian government accusing Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade of jumping to "illogical and outrageous conclusions apparently blinded by his hatred of the Gambia."
At a press conference in Dakar on Tuesday, Senegal's Foreign Minister Madicke Niang said: "You can be certain that there exists a perfect harmony between the two countries."
"There is no cloud over our relationship which is going very well," he told reporters.
"We have not asked Gambia for any explanation. We will only address ourselves to the Iranians who must tell us where these arms were destined," said Niang.
Unsatisfied with Iran's explanations so far, Senegal recently recalled its ambassador to Tehran, while Gambia cut ties.
Iran is under four sets of UN sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme including a ban on arms sales.
Gambia's Foreign Minister Mamadou Tangara - who met with the president and prime minister over cross-border projects - re-iterated his country's stance that it was not the ultimate destination for the weapons.
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