Gambia Expels Top EU Diplomat

The government of Gambia has expelled the European Union’s top diplomat in the West African state, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday, but gave no further details.

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Agnès Guillaud, the European Union’s chargée d’affaires in Banjul, who is acting in place of an ambassador, was asked to leave Gambia within 72 hours, according to the statement, which was read on Gambia national TV. The statement said the decision was effective on Friday.

Though officials gave no reason for expelling the French diplomat, it followed the EU’s blocking of some 13 million euros in aid to Gambia in December.

The EU blocked the disbursement because of Gambia’s poor human rights record, and anti-homosexuality laws in particular, and has debated whether to release some 150 million euros ($185 million) in aid this year. In 2010, the EU annulled another 20 million euros in aid over allegations of violations of human rights and standards of good governance.

This year, Gambia celebrated 50 years of independence. In 2013, the country withdrew from the British Commonwealth, with officials saying that the institution represented nothing more than prolonged colonialism.