UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visits Ghana

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Gambia left the Commonwealth in 2013 under former leader Yahya Jammeh, but he went into exile in January after worldwide pressure to accept his election defeat.

Gambia's new government has announced plans to remain in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A Commonwealth Secretariat spokesman said: "We welcome any effort being made by the newly democratically elected government of The Gambia to try to rejoin the Commonwealth".

The announcement constitutes a rare victory of late for the embattled tribunal.

Jammeh came to power in a coup in 1994 and his government established a reputation for torturing and killing opponents.

The initial probe ordered by Barrow will focus on at least 30 people whose family members reported them dead or missing, Police Inspector General Yankuba Sonko told reporters in the capital Banjul. Equatorial Guinea does not have an extradition treaty with Gambia.

The UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is to visit The Gambia marking the first recorded visit to the West African nation by a foreign secretary.




Jammeh withdrew his nation from the group in 2013, calling it "an extension of colonialism", but Johnson has his own history of controversy with Britain's former territories in Africa.

Barrow had promised a return to the 52-nation grouping.

Following talks with Mr Barrow, the Foreign Secretary said: "I am delighted to say that The Gambia is now on the path back into the Commonwealth and we will try and do that as fast as possible".

Mr Johnson will claim that Britain is "growing in influence and activity around the world" as he seeks to bolster relations with countries outside the EU.

Gambia was one of three African countries that informed the United Nations chief a year ago they were withdrawing from the court that presses charges against alleged perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr Johnson and President Barrow will also hold discussions on fighting extremism and terrorism and how to support the growing tourism industry in Gambia.

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