Wednesday 23 August 2017
(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
China is dedicated to enhancing its cooperation with Africa in human resource development through knowledge and technology transfer, a Chinese diplomat said Tuesday. Liu Tao, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, made the remarks at the Chinese Government Training Program Fellowship Reception in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. He said China, since the year 2000, has sent over 2,000 agricultural experts and over 7,000 medical personnel to Africa, and has trained more than 80,000 Africans from more than 50 countries. China has pledged that it would, in three years, train 200,000 technicians and provide 40,000 training opportunities in China, and will offer 30,000 government scholarships, he said. Stating that 1,100 Ethiopian candidates are invited...
(The Associated Press 08/21/17)
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said he suspended a proposed amendment to the constitution, reversing an announcement earlier this month that he was determined to get the proposal approved. The surprise decision, announced on state TV late Friday, comes after widespread protests against the proposal. Civil society organizations had called for more demonstrations if the project wasn’t withdrawn on Aug. 15, saying the changes would hand the president too much power. The plan included the creation of a Senate and would have enabled Mali’s president to appoint the head of the Constitutional Court
(Reuters (Eng) 08/01/17)
Germany on Monday lent support to France's push to make operational a new multinational military force that will tackle Islamist militants in Africa's Sahel region and urged other powers to contribute funds at an Autumn donor conference. On a joint visit to Niger's capital, Niamey, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart, Florence Parly, said the Sahel force was West Africa's best hope for defeating the militants. Some observers see the G5 Sahel force — comprised of troops from Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
Mali's constitutional court Wednesday dealt another blow to embattled President Ibrahima Boubacar Keita over a controversial referendum, saying changes his government wants to make to the national charter require "corrections". A referendum on Mali's national charter was due on July 9 but was postponed indefinitely in the face of internal opposition in government and following protests by thousands of Malians. The project is controversial as it would establish a Senate with a third of the seats appointed by Keita himself, leading critics to accuse him of consolidating his own power. In a decision issued Wednesday, the court noted that senators had a clear mandate of five years...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
Al Qaeda's branch in Mali has released a video of six foreign hostages, including French naitonal Sophie Pétronin, just before a visit by France's President Emmanuel Macron to finalise the establishment of a Sahel anti-jihadi force with the leaders of five Afican countries. The undated video by Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, also known as the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, was released on Telegram on Saturday, US-based monitoring group SITE said. It featured Pétronin, the head of an NGO...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/03/17)
African powers launched a new multinational military force to tackle Islamist militants in the Sahel on Sunday, which French President Emmanuel Macron told a regional summit should be fully operational by the autumn despite its current budget shortfall. Some observers see the initiative of the G5 Sahel bloc - Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad - as forming the basis of an eventual exit strategy for around 4,000 French troops now deployed to the volatile region. But Macron said...
(The Associated Press 07/03/17)
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- France's president on Sunday promised strong support for a new multinational military force against extremists in Africa's vast Sahel region, saying the "terrorists, thugs and assassins" need to be eradicated. President Emmanuel Macron, meeting in Mali with leaders from the five regional countries involved, said France will provide military support for operations as well as 70 tactical vehicles and communications, operations and protective equipment. The 5,000-strong force will be deployed by September, and its funding will...
(AFP (eng) 07/02/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron, making a lightning visit to Mali, on Sunday threw his weight behind a planned Sahel force to fight jihadists but told countries their efforts had to bear fruit. The so-called "G5 Sahel" countries -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- have pledged to set up a joint force to combat the wave of Islamist bombings, shootings and kidnappings south of the Sahara. Macron, joining the heads of state in the Malian capital Bamako for...
(AFP (eng) 07/01/17)
About 2,000 people rallied Saturday in conflict-torn Mali against a constitutional referendum over concerns the proposed changes hand the president too much power, an AFP correspondent said. During the demonstration in the capital Bamako, which organisers say attracted 10,000 people, protesters held signs reading "Don't touch my Constitution", "No, means no" and "No to the referendum". The protest, which authorities said was not authorised under the state of emergency, took place on the eve of the so-called "G5 Sahel" summit...
(AFP (eng) 06/30/17)
President Emmanuel Macron is due in Mali on Sunday to consolidate Western backing for a regional anti-jihadist force, as France beefs up its counter-terror operations in the area. The so-called "G5 Sahel" countries just south of the Sahara -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- have pledged to fight jihadists on their own soil, as instability and Islamist attacks rise. With its base in Sevare, central Mali, the 5,000-strong G5 Sahel force aims to bolster the 12,000 UN...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/30/17)
President Emmanuel Macron heads to Mali on Sunday to throw France's weight behind a new West African military force he hopes will lay the basis for an exit strategy for its own troops; but its prospects for success look slim. Mali is hosting a heads of state summit with Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania - known as the G5 Sahel - who could ultimately deploy thousands of troops into the vast, arid Sahel region that remains a breeding ground...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
Mali's government and armed groups which signed a 2015 peace deal have relaunched talks aimed at speeding up its implementation after several delays, they told AFP Saturday. The accord signed in 2015 aimed at curbing separatist uprisings in Mali's north after a 2012 rebellion was hijacked by jihadists, throwing the nation into chaos. But several of its key planks have yet to be fully implemented, while jihadists continue to roam the north and centre of the country, despite being ousted from key northern towns by a French-led military intervention in 2013. Malian lawmaker...
(AFP (eng) 06/22/17)
Mali on Wednesday delayed a constitutional referendum due to be held on July 9 in the face of heavy political opposition and street protests. The vote was aimed at enshrining elements of a 2015 peace deal into the charter and establishing a senate in parliament, but came under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. The cabinet "has decided to delay the referendum initially planned for July 9 to a future date," a statement issued by the government said, without providing a...
(The Associated Press 06/21/17)
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday welcoming the deployment of a 5,000-strong African force to fight the growing threat from extremists in the vast Sahel region after it was watered down to meet U.S. demands. France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre called it "a landmark resolution" that brings "strong and decisive support" from the U.N.'s most powerful body to the five countries contributing troops - Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. The United...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Mali's former rebel alliance on Tuesday rejected a national reconciliation charter unveiled on the second anniversary of the signing a peace deal with the government, underscoring the country's fraying peace process. Ex-rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) signed a peace deal on June 20, 2015 aimed at curbing separatist uprisings in Mali's north after a 2012 rebellion was hijacked by jihadists, throwing the nation into chaos. A ceremony to hand the president the national reconciliation charter written...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
The UN Security Council will vote Wednesday on a draft resolution that would pave the way for the deployment of a five-nation African military force to fight jihadists in the Sahel region. The vote was scheduled for 1400 GMT after France reached a deal with the United States on the proposed measure, which welcomes the deployment but does not give it full UN authorization, according to the agreed text seen by AFP. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger --...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Wednesday on a draft resolution to back a West African force to combat terrorism and arms, drug and human trafficking in the Sahel region after France weakened the language in a bid to appease the United States. The vast, arid region has in recent years become a breeding ground for jihadist groups - some linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State - that European nations, particularly France, fear...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/19/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the leader of Mali after Sunday's attack on a luxury resort in the country, and pledged France's full support for the country, Macron's office said on Monday. "During their exchange, he conveyed France's full support to Mali's president during this ordeal," said Macron's office. Gunmen on Sunday attacked a luxury resort popular with Western expatriates just outside Mali's capital, Bamako, killing two people in what the security minister called a terrorist attack, while 36...

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