Author Archives: Europe correspondent

Trump declines talks with Ramaphosa amid farm murders

At margins of the United Nations General Assembly President Donald Trump declined bilateral talks with South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa.

Reportedly US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will have a meeting with International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu to clarify the  situation in South Africa upon request of the US President, who expressed concerns with ongoing brutal murders of farmers.

In a tweet a month ago President Trump asked Secretary Pompeo to clarify the situation at “land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large-scale killing of farmers”. Sisulu admitted at the time to being “taken aback” by Trump‘s tweet, which followed a report on Fox News claiming that the South African government had started with “racist” farm seizures against white farmers.

The concerns are aggravated by repeated calls for violence articulated by Marxist politician Julius Maleman, who calls his followers to expropriate land from white farmers. At public gatherings Malema repeatedly sings  “kill the farmer” song, which is the “hate speech” in form and in essence.

The issue has become chronic problem, but in denial of obvious ANC ruling party did not adopt a strategy to stop farm murders, proposed by Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota.

Mandela statue inauguration in UN premises in New York

“We trust that this statue will remain a constant reminder to the international community of the dedication of Nelson Mandela to the mission of the United Nations and a constant affirmation of South Africa’s commitment to contribute to a better world for all,”said South Africa President  Cyril Ramaphosa at the ceremony of unveiling of the Mandela statue in the UN premises in New York.

South Africans have been humbled by the the enthusiasm with which the international community has embraced the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Mandela, Ramaphosa continued.

The people of our country, united in their diversity, revere Nelson Mandela as the founding father of our democratic nation – whose life, sacrifices and extraordinary contribution to freedom continues to inspire successive generations,” South Africa President underlined.

Mandela Peace Summit at UN General Assembly

Paving the way to the debate at the UN General Assembly, Nelson Mandela Peace Summit marked the centenary of the birth of South Africa’s first democratically-elected President and global civil rights icon. Member States are expected to adopt a historic Political Declaration declaring 2019-2028 the “Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace,” and calling on all world leaders to “redouble efforts to pursue international peace and security, development and human rights”.

“Mandela embodied the United Nations values. His ideal was a world in which all people live together in equality and harmony. He was global citizen whose legacy must continue to guide us” – said Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General.

“Meanwhile much has been done to ensure that the world would never go to war with itself again, the organisation faces more intricate challenges. Over the past seven decades, millions of people worldwide have been killed. Of these, women and children continue to bear a disproportionate burden of these troubles”, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

 

 

France proposes sanctions against Tripoli militias

At  the U.N. Security Council France proposes to implement sanctions on militias involved in ongoing clashes between rival factions Tripoli, which has undermined U.N. efforts to hold elections in Libya by year-end to unite the  country.

More than hundred people have been killed and 400 injured in hostilities between the Seventh Brigade, or Kaniyat, from Tarhouna, a town 65 km southeast of Tripoli, against the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades (TRB) and the Nawasi, two of the capital’s largest armed groups.

Tripoli and western Libya are lead by a U.N.-backed government mainly supported by armed groups, while Eastern Libya is controlled by a rival administration, supported by Tobruk Parliament.

“In the face of the worsening security situation in Tripoli, there is a responsibility to support the Libyans and that means we must be tougher on those that want to keep the status quo for their benefits,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said reporters ahead of a meeting hosted by France on Libya on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

In 2013, France opened an investigation into the allegations after French news website Mediapart published reports following the claims by Franco-Lebanese businessman, Ziad Takieddine. Takieddine alleged he transferred €5 million from Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi to the head of Sarkozy’s campaign  –  Claude Gueant.

EU expects Arab League aid in handling migration

On 19 September the heads of state or government met for an informal working dinner on migration in Salzburg, Austria. Leaders discussed the latest developments in this area. They took note that the number of irregular arrivals has been reduced and is now even lower than in the years before the crisis.

The heads of state or government also agreed to strengthen cooperation with third countries, including Egypt.

Together with chancellor Kurz we have started a dialogue with the Egyptian President and now we can say that there is a backing from the European Council for this and similar dialogues” said president of the EU Council Donald Tusk, who will meet President Al Sisi in September to take the cooperation forward. In this context, the leaders also agreed to organise a summit with the League of Arab States in February 2019.

 

Tanzania freezes family planning ads

Tanzania has suspended broadcasting of family planning ads  of U.S.-funded project, a health ministry letter said, a fortnight after President John Magufuli pointed out family planning was for those “too lazy to take care of their children.

The ministry intends to revise the contents of all your ongoing radio and TV spots for family planning, thus I request you to stop with immediate effect airing and publishing any family planning contents in any media channels until further notice,” the letter, dated September 19, said.

“If you cannot work then opt for family planning but if you can work hard why family planning?” he said.

“Let me tell you in front of the minister of health who is always advocating for family planning, go to farm, work hard … if you have enough food then give birth as you can,” he said during a tour in central Tanzania’s Simiyu region.

 

Black magic hits illegal migrants

Black magicians became an integral part of illegal migration business, encouraging migrants with enchanting rituals to gamble their lives, attempting to reach Europe, crossing Sahara desert and Mediterranean sea. However it is unclear if the attempts to neutralize  their efforts with counter-magic brought any fruit. Some believe the curse will work as an effective measure against human trafficking, the others relay on traditional fences and guards.

Earlier this year Oba Ewuare II, leader of the historic Kingdom of Benin in southern Nigeria, invoked curses on anyone who used witchcraft to help illegal migration. In spite of hopes the measure did not bring a striking difference in number of arrivals of illegal migrants.

The generous EU funds allocated to Maghreb countries in attempt to protect EU borders from flows of illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa clearly indicate the limited effects of voodoo curse, flavoring regular fences and guards. In September the Kingdom of Morocco received $275 million EU aid to strengthen border protection.

 

 

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