Category Archives: Central Africa

Congo future elections in EU focus

The Foreign Affairs Council will discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following up on the Council conclusions of 11 December 2017 and in view of the foreseen elections at the end of the year.

On 11 December the Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the announcement, on 5 November, of an electoral calendar.

The conclusions stress that it is fundamental, in particular for the legitimacy of the institutions in charge of the transition, to guarantee that the election date, now set for 23 December 2018, is respected.

Ebola outbreak in Bikoro

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared a new outbreak of Ebola in the northwest of the country, where 17 people died from viral hemorrhagic fever over the past five weeks.

The Health Ministry was informed of the fatal cases near the town of Bikoro in Equateur province on May 3 and subsequently tested five patients suspected of carrying Ebola, the officials said in an emailed statement. Two of the samples tested positive for the Zaire strain of the disease, it said.

Our country is facing a new epidemic of the Ebola virus which constitutes an international health emergency,” the ministry said. “We have the human resources well trained in this matter who have always been able to quickly control previous epidemics.”

EU supports Chad inclusive political dialogue

“A new Constitution has been promulgated in Chad. The process leading to its adoption has not been conducted in a sufficiently inclusive manner as required by by such a fundamental issue”, according to the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

However, a call for the revival of the national framework of political dialogue, launched to organize the dialogue within the Chadian society, was addressed by the President Deby during its promulgation, – the EEAS statement continues.

The European Union remains ready to support Chad for a genuine inclusive political dialogue taking place in this context, respecting fundamental freedoms, and offering all Chadians the opportunity to participate fully in the political, economic and social life of the country. It notes in this respect the opportunity created by the announcement of the holding of legislative elections and the recasting of the Electoral Commission, – the EEAS statement concludes.

New Constitution of Chad reinforces the powers of president. The National Assembly voted the draft Constitution by 132 votes in favor, 2 against. A strong police presence was visible around the National Assembly in N’Djamena, with the opposition and several civil society organizations calling for protests.

 

Belgium downgraded diplomatic presence in DRC

Bertrand de Crombrugghe is no longer the ambassador of Belgium in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Belgian Foreign Ministry confirmed it on Monday (30/04/2018) after the publication of an article in the Dutch newspaper De Standaard.

In January, the diplomat left Kinshasa amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, officially for “a series of consultations“. Finally, he was relieved from his duties.
When Bertrand de Crombrugghe abruptly left Kinshasa at the end of January, some had already spoken of a “rupture” of relations, however  the Foreign Ministry was downplaying the crisis. “This is not a reminder in the diplomatic sense of the term,” explained one of his spokespersons. Technically, it is a return to Brussels for discussions for ten days, he added.

Three months later, it was finally decided to call him back. The reason given is “the bilateral context”. In other words, the diplomatic turmoil  between the two countries, but not only bilaterally.  Kinshasa has announced the closure of the new Belgian development agency and  the EU Schengen house. Brussels also recalls that the DRC has no ambassador in Belgium for over a year. But the Dutch-language newspaper De Standard coming up with the news, points to a “breach of trust” between the ambassador and the Belgian Foreign Ministry.

Belgium says it is maintaining dialogue with the DRC and hopes that bilateral tensions can be resolved “so that Belgium and the DRC can again be represented at a level of ambassador in Kinshasa and Brussels. Meanwhile, the interim at the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa is provided by Philippe Bronchain, former Belgian Consul General in Lubumbashi, where the Consulate was closed upon DRC request last February.

Donor conference for Congo raised $500

The UN  donor conference in Geneva,  raised half a billion dollars to ease what it calls a major humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In response DRC government has refused to attend the event, alleging that the UN has exaggerated the scale of the problem.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, described the ongoing crisis in DRC as one of the world’s ‘largest humanitarian crises”.

UN officials said they hoped DR Congo’s diplomats would change their minds and participate, underlining that nowadays there are more than three million people in need, more than two million acutely malnourished children, and 4.5 million people displaced from their homes.

#BigCats: EU keeps an eye on endangered spieces

This year the European Commission celebrate on It has taken action and joined up efforts with to fight trafficking of endangered species in the EU and globally.

The EU has already confirmed its leadership in tackling the illegal trade in natural resources by adopting ambitious policies on timber and fishery products. This EU Action Plan demonstrates that the EU is ready to live up to international expectations and commitments, and that it is raising the level of its ambition as regards action against the illegal trade in wildlife. The bloc will also help to ensure that the significant investments made over the last decades through EU development support for wildlife conservation worldwide will not be undermined through criminal activities.

Wildlife trafficking has a devastating impact on biodiversity, threatening to eradicate some species. Moreover, it both creates incentives for corrupt practices and is enabled by them, thereby undermining the rule of law. Notably in some regions in Africa, it has a very negative impact on the potential for economic development.

Wildlife trafficking is very attractive to criminals, as it is highly lucrative and, in most countries it has lower enforcement priority by comparison with other forms of trafficking, so the risk of detection and penalties is very limited. Links with money laundering and other forms of organised crime, such as trafficking in drugs and firearms, have been regularly reported . The UN Security Council has acknowledged that wildlife trafficking in Central Africa is fuelling conflicts and threatening regional and national security by providing a source of funding to militia groups.

 

Mali: EU condolences to MINUSMA

Yesterday, the MINUSMA peacekeepers in Mali were again under attack, causing casualties and injuries. The day before, the Malian armed forces also lost men in the center of the country.

These attacks against the peacekeeping forces and the protection of the citizens of Mali against terrorism are aimed at preventing peace in Mali.

The EU extends its condolences to the families of the victims, the Government of Mali and the United Nation, and wishes a speedy recovery of the injured.

The European Union also remains firmly committed, together with the international community, to supporting the efforts of the Sahel G5 countries in the fight against terrorism and for peace, security and development in the region, as reaffirmed on 23 February by representatives of more than 60 countries and international organizations during the International High Level Conference on the Sahel in Brussels.

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