The Gambia followed a formal policy of nonalignment throughout most of former President Jawara's tenure. It maintained close relations with the United Kingdom, Senegal, and other African countries. The July 1994 coup strained The Gambia's relationship with Western powers, particularly the United States. Since 1995, President Jammeh has established diplomatic relations with several additional countries, including Libya, the Republic of China (on Taiwan), and Cuba.
The Gambia plays an active role in international affairs, especially West African and Islamic affairs, although its representation abroad is limited. As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), The Gambia has played an active role in that organization's efforts to resolve the Liberian civil war and contributed troops to the community's cease-fire monitoring group (ECOMOG). It also has sought to mediate disputes in nearby Guinea-Bissau and the neighboring Casamance region of Senegal.
The Gambia's relations with the United States
U.S. policy seeks to build improved relations with The Gambia on the basis of historical ties, mutual respect, democratic rule, human rights, and adherence to UN resolutions on counterterrorism, conflict diamonds, and other forms of trafficking. In accordance with U.S. law, most direct bilateral development and military assistance to The Gambia was suspended because of the 1994 coup d'état. U.S. assistance continues, however, in the form of food aid administered through Catholic Relief Services, support for democracy and human rights projects, and the financing of girls'secondary education. In addition, the Peace Corps maintains a large program with about 80 volunteers engaged in the environment, public health, and education sectors, mainly at the village level.
Disputes - international: