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Wednesday, 09 January 2013 00:48(AFP) – Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh on Tuesday accused the European Union, which has urged him to respect human rights, of trying to destabilise his country and blackmail him "with chicken change."
Jammeh was speaking Tuesday evening during an emergency meeting with his cabinet ahead of a planned meeting with the European Union slated for Friday in Banjul.
"What the EU wants is to create a situation of instability in this country or create a puppet government that will give them the resources of this country because they know that we now have oil," Jammeh said in a meeting also broadcast on state television.
He did not give details of the oil discovery.
Among the 17 demands by the European Union is for Jammeh's government to abolish the death penalty, re-open closed newspapers and private radio stations, give foreign diplomats access to prisons, and repeal draconian media laws.
"If they think that they can blackmail me for their chicken change, they must be fooling themselves because that will not happen in this country," he said, before announcing that there will be no meeting between the European Union and his Government on this.
"This is an insult; the laws of this country will never be amended to suit the interest of any individual of particular group. As a sovereign state, this country's laws would not be amended because the EU want so," Jammeh added angrily.
The European Union in 2010 cancelled 22 million euros in budget support to the Gambia due to concerns over human rights and governance.
The European Union remains the leading aid provider for Gambia, with a total of 65.4 million euros of grants allocated for the period 2008-2013.
The west African nation, the smallest on the mainland, has long been dogged by rights concerns under Jammeh's administration.
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