Monday 26 June 2017
(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 States is trying to cut $1 billion from the U.N. peacekeeping budget and wanted to ensure that the measure did not open the possibility of new costs. So the final resolution eliminated several key provisions...
(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 -- which make up the so-called G5 -- agreed in March to set up a special counter-terrorism operation of 5,000 troops for the Sahel region. In a first text circulated two weeks ago, France had requested that the Security Council authorize...
(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...
(RFI 06/12/17)
France on Friday tried to convince the US to back a call for the UN to endorse an African military force to fight jihadists, drug smugglers and people traffickers in the Sahel region after American diplomats claimed the mandate was too vague. Following an African Union request for UN backing, France presented a draft resolution on Tuesday to back a decision by Africa's G5 - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger - to set up a 5,000-strong counter-terrorism force in the Sahel region. It would give a UN mandate to the G5 troops ...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
France on Tuesday proposed that the United Nations Security Council back a West African force to combat terrorism, drug and human trafficking by "eradicating the actions" of Islamist militants and organized crime groups in the Sahel region. The vast, arid zone has in recent years become a breeding ground for jihadist groups - some linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State - that European nations, particularly France, fear could threaten Europe if left unchecked. "We cannot afford to let the...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
The West African country of Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, severed ties with Qatar on Tuesday over allegations it "supports terrorists", the state news agency reported, and OPEC member Gabon also condemned the small Gulf Arab state. The Arab world's biggest powers, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, cut diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and Iran. Qatar vehemently denies the claims. "The state of Qatar has linked its policies ... in support of terrorist organizations and the propagation of extremist ideas," the Mauritanian ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement published in Arabic by the Mauritanian Information Agency.
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
France will ask the UN Security Council to authorize an African military force for the Sahel region that will be sent to root out jihadists and drug traffickers, the French ambassador said Tuesday. A French-drafted resolution is expected to be presented this week to the Security Council, which could vote on the measure as early as next week. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- which make up the G5 -- agreed in March to set up the force...
(AFP (eng) 06/06/17)
The EU is giving 50 million euros to set up a joint African military force in the Sahel region to fight jihadists, the bloc's foreign affairs chief said Monday. The funds will help pay for the troops to fight terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal immigration, European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said in the Mali capital Bamako. "Stability and development of the Sahel region are crucial not only for Africa but also for Europe," said Mogherini. "This contribution will arrive...
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home...
(Xinhuanet 05/24/17)
China is willing to strengthen cooperation with African countries within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here on Monday. Speaking at a press conference, Wang said his current visit to four African countries comes right after the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. The four countries, i.e. Mauritania, Cape Verde, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire, have all expressed willingness to participate in China's Belt and Road...
(Xinhuanet 04/19/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will convene Wedesday the first UN-AU Annual Conference. The two leaders will look into how to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations to face common challenges and opportunities in the continent, on issues of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, said Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, at a daily briefing. "They will also sign the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
France backs efforts by West African states to boost security in their Sahel region, including a plan for a 5,000-strong multinational force to combat Islamist fighters, its foreign minister said on Thursday. Jean-Marc Ayrault said the G5 Sahel states - Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger - must improve their counter-terrorism capacity. "The countries of the G5 have decided to enter a new phase ... with the creation of a common force to protect their borders," Ayrault said after...
(Andalou Agency 03/24/17)
North African nation gears up for controversial referendum on proposed constitutional changes. Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel-Aziz on Thursday said he would not hold any fresh political dialogue with the country’s opposition. Speaking at a press conference in capital Nouakchott, Abdel-Aziz said his priority was to prepare for a popular referendum on a raft of proposed constitutional amendments. He denied that he or his government had been subject to pressure -- by either the UN or the EU -- to...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/17)
A contentious amendment to Mauritania's constitution, which would abolish the Senate and change the national flag, will be put to a referendum "as quickly as possible," the president said Wednesday. The proposal to modify the constitution, which has been in force since 1991, was approved by lawmakers in the lower house of the west African Islamic republic but rejected by 33 out of 56 senators earlier this month. "Due to this rejection, we have arrived at an impasse. But there is one way out: we will hold a referendum," said President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz at a press conference late Wednesday.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
N'DJAMENA French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen pledged on Wednesday to break with her country's decades-old relationship with Africa known as "Francafrique" and abolish the CFA franc currency policy that binds Paris and its former colonies. Francafrique describes an informal web of relationships Paris has maintained with its former African colonies and its support, sometimes in the form of military backing, for politicians who favor French business interests. Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the presidential election, spoke...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
Mauritania's lawmakers voted Thursday to get rid of the parliament's upper chamber, and alter the country's flag to better represent those who battled for independence from France. Lawmakers in the lower house of the west African Islamic republic passed a contentious constitutional amendment package by 121 votes to 19 including the measures. The changes will now be considered by the Senate, where the government also has a majority, meaning the body will have to vote on its own abolition and replacement by regional councils. The government has a majority in both chambers.
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first phone calls to African heads of state Monday, speaking with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma. Nigeria and South Africa said the calls were made at the request of the U.S. president, who until now has said little about Africa or African issues since assuming office last month. The Nigerian presidency said Trump and Buhari discussed issues of terrorism, and said Trump assured Buhari the United States is ready...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/17)
Troops from five Sahel countries plan to set up a new counter-terror force in the region, where alarm over the jihadist threat is mounting, leaders said Monday in Mali's capital. The announcement came as leaders of the Sahel G5 states -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- that describe themselves as "in the frontline against terrorism", met to discuss the desert zone's perilous security situation. The gathering took place barely three weeks after the worst attack in the region for years, the January 18 suicide bombing in the northern Malian city of Gao that left almost 80 people dead.
(Xinhuanet 02/03/17)
T20 Africa Conference, the meeting for the G20 think tanks and African countries, ended on Friday in Johannesburg with a commitment to accelerate cooperation between the G20 and Africa. The three-day conference aimed to chart a course for the future cooperation between Africa and the G20. The day ended with the formulation of the communique which will be given to the current G20 chair Germany. The communique will also be the reference for further discussion between Africa and T20. T20...

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