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British Royals

The Gambia returns to the Commonwealth

The Commonwealth has a new member as The Gambia rejoins the family of nations headed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The West African country departed the Commonwealth only five years ago but has rejoined following a pledge by the country’s President.

This means the Commonwealth now has 53 members opposed to just 52.

The Gambia was officially reinstated to the family of nations during a ceremony on Thursday morning attended by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Scotland.

Secretary-General Scotland said: “When the Gambia left in 2013, the heads of government expressed their regret in its leaving the Commonwealth family.

“We’ve looked forward to the Gambia’s return and were delighted when, after his election victory in 2016, President Barrow pledged to return.

“The Gambia’s application to rejoin has been unanimously accepted by all 52-member states, who welcome back their brothers and sisters to again play their full part in the Commonwealth family.”

The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said: “The Gambia’s return to the Commonwealth family is fantastic news. When I visited the country last year, I saw huge enthusiasm for the values and opportunities offered by our modern, diverse Commonwealth.

“This shows that when a country commits to strengthening democracy, governance and the rule of law, it is welcomed back to the international community and the Commonwealth family.

“I very much hope to welcome President Barrow to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London in April.”

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, added: “I am delighted that The Gambia has today rejoined the Commonwealth family, an institution built on a shared commitment to strengthening democracy.”

President Barrow of The Gambia will now be eligible to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April which will be hosted by The Queen.

The country left the Commonwealth in 2013 after the previous president called the family of nations a “neo-colonial institution.”