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) 06/10/17)
Niger said on Saturday it had recalled its ambassador to Qatar in solidarity with Arab countries that have cut ties with Doha over allegations it sponsors Islamist militants and Iran. Some African countries have cautiously come out in support of attempts to isolate Qatar. Mauritania, an Arab League member, cut ties on Tuesday and central African oil producer Gabon condemned Qatar for failing "on counter-terrorism.". Senegal has said it would recall its ambassador in Qatar and expressed its "active solidarity"...
(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...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 06/05/17)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday joined West African leaders at a summit in Liberia, where they hailed peacekeeping efforts in the region but warned about threats to stability. Netanyahu, who had visited east Africa in July 2016, vowed that they had "no better partner" than his country after he was received by Liberian President and outgoing head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. "Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
A Niger opposition leader is to go on trial on Tuesday on charges of incitement to violence and sedition, his lawyer said, in a case that critics say highlights growing repression under President Mahamadou Issoufou's government. Amadou Djibo, leader of the Front for the Restoration of Democracy and the Defence of Democracy (FRDDR), could be sentenced to between 10 and 20 years in jail if convicted, according to Niger's criminal court. Djibo was arrested on Tuesday while returning home from...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 04/16/17)
Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou held talks with student leaders Saturday in a bid to defuse the country's university crisis after a violent protest left one person dead, a student union head said. "We met with the president and commitments were made to renew the dialogue between the USN (Union of Niger Scholars) and the government," Ousseini Sambo, USN secretary-general, said on public radio. President Issoufou had ordered the University of Niamey campus to reopen on Monday, he added. The campus...
(AFP (eng) 04/02/17)
Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said Saturday that he would not amend the constitution to allow him to seek a third term after his second and final mandate ends in 2021. "One of my greatest ambitions is to organise free and transparent elections in 2021 and pass the baton to another Nigerien whom the Nigeriens will have chosen," the president said in an interview on state television on the occasion of the first anniversary of his inauguration for his second mandate on April 2, 2016. The constitution of Niger limits the president to two terms of five years. Issoufou, 65, was re-elected in March last year...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/18/17)
Niger's lower house of parliament voted unanimously on Friday to investigate accusations that President Mahamadou Issoufou's former chief of staff improperly participated in the state mining company's purchase of 5.5 million pounds of uranium. A Nigerien newspaper published documents last month showing a bank transfer in November 2011 for $320 million from an account belonging to state miner Sopamin to an account controlled by an offshore company called Optima Energy. The bank transfer was signed by Issoufou's chief of staff at the time and current finance minister, Hassoumi Massaoudou, who lawmakers have said had no authority to do so. Local media has dubbed the affair "uraniumgate".
(AFP (eng) 03/14/17)
Hama Amadou, an opposition leader in the Sahel state of Niger, was sentenced to a year's jail Monday on a charge of baby smuggling after a one-day trial that his attorneys denounced as a fix. Amadou -- who competed against President Mahamadou Issoufou in March elections in 2016 -- had left for France and was tried in absentia. He was one of a group of people accused of smuggling babies from Nigeria via Benin to wealthy couples in Niger. Shortly...
(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.

Pages