Monday 23 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is,...
(AFP (eng) 10/04/17)
Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis resigned late Tuesday in the wake of a damning report over the death of two soldiers killed in an accidental mortar explosion in Mali last year. "I am politically responsible and am taking that responsiblity," Hennis told the lower house of parliament in The Hague. "I resign as minister and will ask his majesty the king for my immediate release," she said after more than four hours of parliamentary debate over the deaths of the two men who served as UN peacekeepers in the troubled west African state. General Tom Middendorp, the top Dutch military commander, also tendered his resignation Tuesday over the incident. Kevin Roggeveld, 24, and Henry Hoving, 29, were killed "outright" in...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/04/17)
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch caretaker Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis said on Tuesday she was resigning after a report highlighted serious failures by her department during a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. The Safety Board last week issued its findings about an incident on June 6, 2016, when a mortar killed two soldiers and gravely injured a third. It concluded that the ministry had let safety and medical standards slip in favor of pursuing strategic goals. Hennis announced her resignation during a parliamentary debate just days before the caretaker government is due to be replaced...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
UN Security Council ambassadors will travel to Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania this month to get a close-up view of a new regional force that France is hoping to shore up with financing, the French ambassador said Monday. The Sahel force is set to begin operations this month, tasked with combating Islamic militants, some of whom have links to Al-Qaeda, but a question mark remains over funding. France will use its presidency of the Security Council in October to focus...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/28/17)
Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, head of a group of five countries in Africa’s Sahel region, has asked the United States to remove a travel ban on Chadian nationals, saying that a failure to do so could affect Chad’s security commitments. Security analysts expressed surprise when Chad, a key U.S. security partner since the Cold War, was named last week alongside North Korea and Venezuela as part of an eight-country the travel ban. Chad’s army acts as a bulwark against...
(Xinhuanet 09/27/17)
The UN Security Council on Monday condemned "in the strongest terms" Sunday's attack by unknown assailants against a convoy of the UN mission in Mali, which killed three peacekeepers of Bangladeshi origin and injured four others. The members of the Security Council, in a press statement, expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, as well as to the Bangladeshi government and the UN mission in Mali, or Minusma. They called on the government of Mali to swiftly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law and involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring or conducting attacks
(Reuters (Eng) 09/14/17)
NIAMEY, NIGER — Mali and Niger, two of the West African nations hit hardest by jihadist violence, appealed Wednesday for international funding for a regional force they have set up to counter Islamist insurgencies. Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Niger's Mahamadou Issoufou said the force assembled by the G5 Sahel bloc — Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad — was crucial to fighting a threat that went well beyond their borders. "We bring this combat against terrorism not...
(AFP (eng) 09/11/17)
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Saturday inaugurated the headquarters for a planned five-nation force to combat jihadists in the Sahel region, officials who attended the ceremony told AFP. The HQ is located in central Mali at Sevare, about 10 kilometres (six miles) east of Mopti, in a region that has been hit by a wave of terror attacks in recent months. The five-battalion, 5,000-strong force, decided at a summit in Bamako on July 2, is to comprise troops from...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/06/17)
The United Nations Security Council established a Mali sanctions regime on Tuesday that allows the body to blacklist anyone who violates or obstructs a 2015 peace deal, hinders the delivery of aid, commits human rights abuses or recruits child soldiers. Anyone added to the blacklist would be subjected to a global travel ban or asset freeze, according to the French-drafted resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the 15-member Security Council. “We do see the sanctions as an additional tool in...
(Xinhuanet 09/06/17)
The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday decided to impose travel ban and asset freeze on individuals and entities responsible for derailing the peace process in the African country of Mali and to set up a sanctions committee for the purposes. The council unanimously passed Resolution 2374, demanding all UN member states prevent the entry into or transit through their territories by individuals designated by the sanctions committee, unless the committee determines on a case-by-case basis that such travel is...
(AFP (eng) 09/02/17)
A bid for a UN Security Council vote early next week on a French-sponsored resolution that would set up a sanctions regime for Mali gained momentum Friday despite resistance from some countries, diplomats said. Russia and Ethiopia have voiced reservations over the proposal, raising the possibility of a delay of several weeks, but the diplomats said negotiations on holding a vote on Tuesday have accelerated. That would put it just before Security Council ambassadors leave for an annual meeting with...
(The Associated Press 08/28/17)
European Union funding is being looked at as a potential tool for ending the dependence of some local economies in Africa on migrant trafficking. Italy's foreign ministry hosted a meeting of interior ministers from Italy, Libya, Chad, Niger and Mali on Monday to discuss strategies for foiling the human traffickers who have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants toward Europe. The migrants are often put on unseaworthy vessels and are brought to Italy when they are rescued at sea. But unlike refugees, economic migrants aren't eligible for asylum.
(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...
(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...

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