New Gambian President Barrow Says Wants UK as 'Number One' Partner

He said, "Fellow Gambians, my first preoccupation as president and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and a patriot is to preserve at every instance and in every circumstance, the lives of Gambians and this is a duty I hold sacrosanct".

Mr Barrow convincingly won the December election, appearing to bring an end to the more than two decades-long role of Mr Jammeh, who came to power in a coup in 1994.

Troops from Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria readied for a possible intervention against Jammeh, whose mandate expired at midnight Wednesday.

The commission later accepted that some of the results it initially published contained errors, but said they would not have affected Mr Barrow's win.

United Nations diplomats said that if Barrow requests a military intervention in The Gambia, this would provide the legal basis for the use of force.

Hours before, Gambia's army chief abandoned the embattled longtime leader, saying his forces would not fight against a military operation to remove him, as regional leaders led a last ditch effort to convince him to flee into exile.

New Gambian President Adama Barrow confirmed on Friday evening via his Twitter account that Jammeh agreed to leave.

Jammeh's deadline to cede power to Barrow lapsed several times as West African troops moved into the nation in a bid to force his removal.

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"I can assure you that he has agreed to leave", said Mai Ahmad Fatty, head of Mr Barrow's transition team and now his special advisor.

Dressed in all white, Mr Barrow, 51, who was declared victor of last month's election by the country's electoral commission, took his oath of office at the Gambian Embassy in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Fears of violence had run high as Jammeh refused to let go of the presidency.

"We are going to welcome them with flowers and make them a cup of tea", he said.

In a bid to cling to power, he declared a state of emergency on Monday, dissolved the cabinet and the National Assembly extended his term for three months. Jammeh, who started negotiations with ECOWAS on Thursday, demanded an amnesty for any crimes that he may have committed during his 22 years in power.

A statement issued by the government on Friday, January 20, congratulated Adama Barrow and said he was the legitimate leader of the West African country.

"I don't want that man to escape punishment from us", said Lamin Darboe, 35, a Gambian shopkeeper who was present at Barrow's speech in Dakar on Friday. If the regional force is going to arrest Jammeh, it will have to be there, the official said.

The efforts by West African leaders to ease Jammeh from power in Gambia, a tiny county of 1.9 million in the Gambia River delta, were being closely watched in other parts of Africa, where some leaders have clung to power for decades.

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