Latest News May 27, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Martin Kobler condemns violence and calls for the immediate restoration of calm in Tripoli

    The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Libya and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, is following reports of ongoing fighting in Tripoli with grave concern. The SRSG calls on rival groups to stop fighting immediately and put Libyan national interest first. 

    “Voices of reason should prevail for the benefit of the country,” said Martin Kobler. “Political aims must not be pursued through violence. Civilians must be protected. I remind all parties of their duty to respect the provisions of international humanitarian and international human rights law”, he stated.

    The SRSG expresses his full support to the Presidency Council as the sole legitimate executive authority in Libya, as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolutions 2259 and 2278.  He urges all parties in Libya to engage seriously in the political process and towards national reconciliation.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

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  • The 682nd meeting of the AU PSC at Ministerial level on Maritime Security and Safety and Peace, Security and Development of the Blue Economy, “After Lomé”

    The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 682nd meeting, held at ministerial level, on 25 April 2017, adopted the following decision on Maritime Security and Safety and Peace, Security and Development of the Blue Economy, “After Lomé”:


    1.    Takes note of the statements delivered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of the Republic of Togo, H.E. Prof. Robert Dussey, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of April 2017, and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Smail Chergui. Council also takes note of the presentation made by the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, H.E. Ambassador Albert Muchanga, as well as by Ambassador Amoko Kouvahe and Justice Kokou Humado, both from Togo. Council  further takes note of the statements made by representatives of Member States,  the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), as well as by the representative of the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) ;

    2.    Recalls the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime (2050 AIM) Strategy   and its Plan of Action adopted by the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in January 2014. Council also recalls Assembly Decision Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1 (VI) by the AU Extraordinary Summit, held on 15 October 2016, in Lomé, Togo,  which adopted the Charter on Maritime Safety and Security and Development in Africa;

    3.    Expresses deep concern over the persistence of threats to safety and security in the maritime domain, including piracy, armed robbery at sea, illegal, unreported and unregulated/illegal fishing, dumping of toxic waste, illegal arms, drug and human trafficking, money laundering, smuggling of migrants and terrorism. In this regard, Council underscores the importance of the adoption of stringent measures to combat these threats;

    4.    Emphasizes the link between peace, security and development with regard to the maritime domain as integral elements for Africa’s overall economic growth and integration process. In this respect, Council underlines the importance of the Lomé Charter as an African instrument for promoting peace, security and safety in Africa’s maritime domain, which are the necessary conditions for the development and growth of the blue economy for the benefit of the continent and its people;

    5.    Welcomes the appointment of President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe of the Republic of Togo as AU Champion for issues related to maritime security and safety  and commends his tireless efforts towards the promotion of maritime security and safety in Africa, as a contribution to enhance peace and security in the continent;

    6.    Recalls the request made by the Extraordinary Summit to the Commission to take all necessary measures in order to convene extraordinary sessions of the relevant Specialized Technical Committees (STCs) which were not involved in the elaboration process of the Charter namely: the STC on Trade, Industry and Minerals, the STC on Transport, Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism, the STC on Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and any other relevant STCs to enable them to consider issues falling within their respective mandates and submit their contributions to the African Charter, in the form of annexes, to the Assembly for consideration in July 2017. In this regard, Council recognizes the progress made in the implementation of this decision and requests the Commission to expedite the finalization of the draft annexes to the Lomé Charter, with a view to enabling the earliest convening of the meeting of the relevant STCs for their elaboration;

    7.    Takes note with gratitude of the offer made by the Republic of Togo to host the meetings of relevant STCs;

    8.    Underscores the important role of RECs/RMs in the elaboration, implementation and harmonization of national and regional maritime instruments including regulatory frameworks;

    9.    Further underscores the need to put in place an appropriate follow up mechanism, in particular within the AU Commission, bearing in mind the cross-sectoral and multidimensional nature of issues relating to Maritime Security and Safety and Development as recognized in the 2050 AIM Strategy and the Lomé Charter ;

    10.    Further commends Togo for being the only AU Member State that has already signed and ratified the Lomé Charter, and urges all Member States to ratify the Charter, in accordance with their relevant national procedures;   

    11.    Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.     

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department.

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  • Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist Attack in Minya, Egypt

    The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack that took place today, 26 May 2017, on a bus traveling to a monastery in Minya, Egypt, where at least 28 people were killed and dozens were injured, including children.

    They expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Egypt, and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.

    The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

    The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Egypt and all other relevant authorities in this regard.

    The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Security Council.

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  • Switzerland returns EUR 3.5 million to Tunisia in stolen assets recovery process

    Switzerland has transferred approximately EUR 3.5 million to Tunisia, in response to a request for mutual legal assistance. The final destination of these assets will depend on the proceedings currently under way in Tunisia.

    Acting on a request for mutual legal assistance from Tunisia, on 26 May 2017 the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland ordered the transfer of an additional amount of approximately EUR 3.5 million. The assets had been frozen in Switzerland in connection with a close relative of the former president of Tunisia, and are being transferred to the current Tunisian authorities with that person’s agreement. The decision on what should be done with the assets now lies with the Tunisian authorities, and will depend on the proceedings currently in progress in Tunisia.

    In early 2011, the Federal Council responded immediately to the political events in North Africa by freezing the assets held in Switzerland by the deposed President Ben Ali and his entourage. The assets were frozen in order to prevent the possible flight of capital suspected of having been illicitly acquired and thereby facilitate judicial cooperation with Tunisia.

    Since then, criminal investigations have been opened in Switzerland and Tunisia and mutual legal assistance requests have been exchanged. Judicial cooperation functions well between the two countries: in May 2016 Switzerland successfully made a first restitution of approximately CHF 250,000 to Tunisia.

    This new restitution is a tangible manifestation of the good cooperation that exists between Switzerland and Tunisia. It is a success for mutual legal assistance and marks an important step in the long and complex process of recovering the illicit assets of politically exposed persons, a process to which Switzerland has been committed for years.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Federal Council, Switzerland.

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  • Change of British High Commissioner to Cameroon

    Mr Rowan James Laxton has been appointed British High Commissioner to the Republic of Cameroon in succession to Mr Brian Olley, who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Mr Laxton will take up his appointment in October 2017.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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  • U.S. Embassy Condemns Attack‎ in Minya

    The U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemns the depraved, horrific terrorist attack today against innocent civilians in Minya.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this heinous, reprehensible assault. We express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims, and we wish the injured a speedy recovery.

    The United States continues to stand firmly with the Egyptian government and people to defeat terrorism.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

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  • The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust to eliminate blinding Trachoma in Zambia by 2019

    The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Director of Advocacy and Commonwealth Engagement Eleanor Fuller OBE has revealed that the Trust has decided to fund its activities to target the elimination of blinding Trachoma in Zambia by 2019.

    In an interview after she paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde yesterday to brief him on projects that Zambia was benefiting from, Ms. Fuller said sight loss gives rise to a huge economic burden and that prevention of avoidable blindness will yield major gains for Zambia and other Commonwealth countries.

    She said the painful, low vision and blindness caused by the disease can trap people in a cycle of poverty by preventing them from going to work where women and children may also have to give up education or employment to provide care to affected family members.

    “Having previously supported Trachoma mapping in Zambia, the Trust has decided to fund activities to target the elimination of blinding trachoma nationwide by 2019. This painful, slowly blinding, infectious disease can be eliminated by the SAFE strategy: Surgery: to correct the inturning eyelashes of sufferers; distribution of carefully dosed Antibiotics; Face washing to reduce transmission; Environmental improvements to reduce the number of flies. The Trust is working closely with DFID,” She said.

    She said planning for the implementation of the programme is now underway and this is likely to include distributing antibiotics to 3.8 million people and providing surgery for 2,400 people,” she said.

    She said Trachoma starts with a bacterial eye infection which if left untreated can lead to blindness adding that Trachoma is responsible for 3 percent of global blindness, causing 1 adult to go blind every 15 minutes.

    Ms. Fuller said up to 230 million people are at risk of catching the disease with 70 percent of those affected are women.

    She said ninety-eight million people across the Commonwealth are blind or have low vision, from a range of causes.

    Ms. said it was a fact that 80 per cent of blindness is now preventable adding that the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has made tackling avoidable blindness the main focus of its programmes.

    And High Commissioner Chikonde said he was pleased that Zambia was amongst the two countries in African who are going to benefit from the project targeting at the elimination of Trachoma by 2019.  

    Among other programmes that the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust run is the Queen’s Young Leaders where Zambia is benefiting from.  

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Zambia High Commission in the United Kingdom.

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  • WCC condemns attack in Egypt

    The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned an attack on a bus in Egypt carrying Coptic Christians. Twenty-six people are dead, according to media reports, after unidentified gunmen opened fire on the bus. At least 25 more are injured.

    The passengers were traveling Friday to a monastery, St. Samuel the Confessor, near the city of Minya.

    Tveit offered “heartfelt condolences to the people who lost family members and friends.”

    “It is shocking that this attack was directed against people who were on a pilgrimage of peace, and that this attack comes on the heels of ongoing violence and persecution,” Tveit said.

    Tveit added, “In the face of this brutality, the human family, all people of faith and of good will, must stand together to recommit to respecting and caring for one another, to protecting one another, and to preventing such violence.”

    The World Council of Churches appeals to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, to religious leaders and to governments across the region “to act swiftly and boldly to safeguard the fundamental religious rights of all faiths, to ensure security in the face of violence and to guarantee justice for all people.”

    Tveit called for prayers, urging the WCC fellowship and others across the world to remain steadfast in their quest for peace and justice for Copts and all who are persecuted.

    “Through prayer, action and unity, we can bring a powerful force of love in the wake of terror and violence,” he said.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of World Council of Churches (WCC).

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  • Alfano: “Sorrow and condemnation for the attack on the Coptic Christian community”
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, expresses his feeling of immense sorrow and firm condemnation for the vile attack on a bus carrying dozens of Coptic Christians from the Egyptian town of Minya. A large number of innocent people were killed, Coptic Christians, including many children.

    “I wish to express my heartfelt sympathy to the relatives of the victims, to the people of Egypt and to the Coptic Church. Italy condemns firmly any act of violence and confirms its determined commitment to fight a common battle to counter terrorism,” said the minister.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.

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