A cholera outbreak has killed 12 people and may have infected at least 134 others in the northeast Nigerian state of Adamawa, an official said on Wednesday (23/05/2018).
“So far 12 people have died from the disease and there are many more cases”, said Ezra Sakawa, medical director of the general hospital for Mubi, the town where the disease has struck.
“We have little manpower to deal with an outbreak of such magnitude,” Sakawa said, adding that nurses were on strike.
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.
“The critical political situation in Guinea Bissau is putting at risk its institutional and democratic order, with serious implications for the stability in the region.”
“The EU has always acted in close coordination with the other members of the P5 group – the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS), the Community of Portuguese Language Countries – to promote a peaceful solution. The EU supports the conclusion of the recent ECOWAS Ministerial mission to Bissau, including the need to hold those responsible for impeding the implementation of the Conakry agreement. The EU shares the concern of the region for the deterioration of the human rights situation, especially regarding the political rights.”
“In view of the fragility of the security situation all stakeholders must refrain from any action outside of the constitutional order and rule of law which may lead to further instability. The security forces must maintain their non-intervention stance in the political crisis. The EU stands ready to maintain the support to the regional force ECOMIB, ongoing since 2014, once a decision will be taken on its presence in Bissau.”
On January 24th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Democratic Republic of Congo informed by note verbale addressed to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, about the decision of the Congolese government to close the Schengen House in Kinshasa. In the current uncertainty following this announcement and the various contacts with the authorities, the Schengen House had to suspend its activities.
The Schengen House is an instrument for implementing the EU’s common visa policy aimed at facilitating the processing of visa applications for States Parties to the Schengen Treaty.
The 18 states participating in the consular system of Maison Schengen Kinshasa consider it important to preserve this form of local consular cooperation to ensure the continuity and quality of visa services for Congolese citizens. As such, they remain open to dialogue.
With regard to the decision to suspend the activities of the Belgian Cooperation Agency, the EU underlines the importance of the complementarity of its actions and those of the Member States in favor of the development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its population. Restrictions on one of the Member States could undermine the collective effort for the benefit of the Congolese.
The Council of Foreign Affairs ministers will review the situation in Libya, following the meeting of the joint migration task force with the African Union and the UN on 14 December 2017.
The discussion will feed into the preparations of the 4th Quartet meeting at the end of January. The Quartet supports the UN-facilitated political process in Libya. It brings together the EU, the UN, the African Union, and the League of Arab States.
The European Parliament expresses deep concern about the security situation in Nigeria. MEPs call on President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to:
- address the increasing inter-ethnic violence between pastoral communities and farmers by negotiating a national policy framework protecting the interests of both groups,
- step up the efforts to stop the attacks against Christian and Muslims,
- provide psychosocial support to the victims of Boko Haram radicalisation,
- reform the Nigerian state security forces and investigate abuses perpetrated by security officials, such as extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary arrests, and
- implement a moratorium on the death penalty, with a view to its abolition.
To reinforce their message MEPs ask the EU Commission and the European External Action Service to monitor the reintegration of Nigerian returnees from Libya, ensuring that the EU funding is spent effectively and keeping the European Parliament informed about the reintegration measures.