Category Archives: EEAS

EU: South Sudan «deserves peace»

“The people of South Sudan deserve lasting peace. The political and inter-communal violence occurring in Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap and other parts of the country is of great concern” reads the the declaration on South Sudan by the EU High Representative Josep Borrel, on behalf of the European Union, on delays in the implementation of the peace agreement and widespread violence

“The perpetuation of violence leading to a high number of fatalities, forced displacement, sexual and gender-based violence and other human rights abuses, must stop. These conflicts have also killed humanitarian workers and are hampering the delivery of principled humanitarian aid in areas affected by severe food insecurity and recurrent natural disasters.

“This situation is worsened by the regrettable stalling of the implementation of the peace agreement and the high proliferation of arms in the country. Violations of the ceasefire are also being reported and investigated by the monitoring bodies. The ceasefire must be fully respected by all actors, including those who are party to the Rome Declaration. The recent renewal of sanctions by the UN Security Council, including of the arms embargo on South Sudan is welcome in this regard and will help support an inclusive and sustainable peace in South Sudan. The fulfilment of security arrangements also remains imperative.

“In line with the declaration of the IGAD Council of Ministers on 23 April, which deadlines have unfortunately not been respected by the South Sudanese parties, a swift agreement on and completion of state governorships and other political nominations is vital, as is ensuring women represent 35% of those in public office.

“These gaps in national and local governance systems are hampering conflict resolution efforts. This is all the more important in view of the need for a whole-of-society effort in the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To step up EU support to South Sudan, genuine progress in the reforms foreseen by the peace agreement, including those related to transparent public financial management, is needed, as is accountability for human rights abuses to stop the culture of impunity. The set-up of transitional justice institutions is also paramount.

“The EU calls upon the South Sudanese government and all relevant stakeholders to redouble efforts to proceed in the timely implementation of the peace agreement through political compromise, to stop the widespread violence that is deeply impacting on the population of South Sudan and to facilitate the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian workers to those most in need and affected by the conflict. The EU supports and further encourages IGAD and its Member States to continue to step up their efforts to monitor and support peace implementation in South Sudan. The EU also supports the efforts of the AU, which will remain instrumental to support the full implementation of the peace agreement”.

South Sudanese security forces killed at least five people in Juba on June 3, 2020 during a violent confrontation over a land dispute and subsequent peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said. They called the authorities to investigate thoroughly and promptly hold those responsible to account in a transparent civilian process.

Borrell condemns barbarism in Ituri

Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been hit for several weeks by an intensification of almost daily systematic attacks against the civilian population. Since the beginning of the year, nearly 300 people have been killed and more than 200,000 people have fled the atrocities.

“These barbaric acts must stop. It is up to the Congolese authorities and the UN Mission for Stabilization in the DRC (MONUSCO) to put an end to the actions of the CODECO armed militia and to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice. No feeling of impunity can prevail. It is also essential to give priority to dialogue and to fight against any instrumentalization of identity.

“What is happening in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo cannot become a forgotten crisis; and efforts to end insecurity in this region must be accelerated. The European Union stands ready to support the efforts of the Congolese authorities in this direction, in coordination with its partners.

“Finally, the European Union does not exclude taking adequate measures with regard to individuals, groups or organizations which contribute by their actions to undermining the preservation of peace or to serious human rights violations”.

EU will not send observers to Malawi

The European diplomacy reiterated its call for restraint to political actors in Malawi.
“It is especially important at this time that all political actors should stand united in the defence of human rights and Rule of Law, and against any acts of violence, incitement or hate speech” the EU spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs said, quoting a statement of the EU Mission in Malawi.

On May 6, being “shocked” and “saddened” by acts of violence the EU Mission in Malawi together with Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States reacted upon the lamentable episodes, fuelled by political motives, hoping that those responsable would be brought to justice, following the transparent investigations in the frame of the Malawi law.

However the EU has no plans to send the observers for the possible presidential elections postponed to July 2. In general the European External Action Service (EEAS) has to re-asses the deployment of the Observation missions, but “in this case Malawi is not a part of the EU observation mission priority for 2020, the EU will not send the Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the re-run of the Presidential elections in Malawi” the spokesperson said commenting on the issue. She reminded that at present the issue of re-running of the presidential elections on the July 2 is examined by the Supreme court in the capital city Lilongwe, and the decision of the judges will “determine if the Presidential election will be or not repeated in July“, she added.

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had declared President Peter Mutharika the narrow winner of the May election with 38% of votes, followed by Lazarus Chakwera with 35% and former Vice President Saulos Chilima third with 20%, while four other candidates collectively received of 6% of ballots.

Since the announcement of the election results almost a year ago, Malawi has experienced a wave of protests across the country demanding the resignation of Jane Ansah, the chairwoman of the MEC for allegedly mismanaging the elections. The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) defended its managment of the process, being within the legal framework.

Sudan bans FGM

“The decision of Sudan to ban female genital mutilation is another historic step forward in the country. We praise the Government of Sudan in its entirety for taking this bold and historic step towards the full realisation of women’s and girls’ rights. The road towards a democratic and prosperous Sudan with equal rights and opportunities for all is long, but can only be travelled by taking steps like these. The European Union stands ready to support Sudan to implement this decision.

“The same way they led the revolution last year, Sudanese women have led the fight to end female genital mutilation (FMG) in their country and serve as an example to the world.

“World leaders have committed to eliminate FGM by 2030; today this practice remains carried out in more than 90 countries in the world. Banning or criminalizing FGM is the first step of a long process to end a practice, which in many countries is enmeshed with tradition and religious beliefs.

“The European Union is committed to promote the global trend towards banning the FGM practice and all other forms of harmful practices discriminating against women in various ways”.

Statement by High Representative/ Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen on the ban of female genital mutilation original on Twitter inserted above.

South Soudan elections as key to stability

European Council today adopted conclusions stating the EU’s determination to stand by the people of South Sudan in their quest for peace and prosperity, and in facing the consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which risks having far-reaching humanitarian and economic consequences on the newfound stability of the country.

In its conclusions the Council states that the EU welcomes the formation of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) in South Sudan as a key step towards a long lasting peace and inclusive and sustainable development in the country, and that full respect of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of December 2017 is imperative. In this context, the EU underlines the importance of the fulfilment of the security arrangements with the demobilisation of former combatants to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and calls on the UN Security Council to renew the arms embargo.

The Council conclusions stress that the holding of free and credible general elections at the end of the transitional period will be another step towards stability, and that journalists, civil society and human rights defenders must be enabled to operate freely.

At the same time the Council deplores widespread violations of human rights and the culture of impunity. The EU stands ready to adopt further restrictive measures if such violations continue or the peace process is undermined.

EU diplomacy supports CAR electoral calendar

Only a peaceful, inclusive and transparent electoral process, conducted in accordance with the electoral calendar will guarantee credible and legitimate elections, awaited by the population” said the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson, reacting upon various hypothetical scenarios of postponement of the presidential elections in Central African Republic, originally foreseen the end of December 2020.

The poisson of the European Union diplomacy vis-à-vis elections has been announced after the Minusca (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) raised concerns about the consequences of the constitutional reform project launched by the Central African Republic president Faustin Archange Touadéra, which would allow him to secure his own interim if the December presidential election is postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.

While the President Touadéra is preparing to validate a constitutional amendment that would allow him to ensure his own interim in the situation of the postponement of the presidential election in December 2020, the project raises the most serious concerns within the UN.

Reportedly the international experts are warning about the destabilising consequences of such a sifnificant legal project, changing the Constitution of the country, in spite of a considerable political opposition to the initiative.

However validated on April 22 by the President’s office, it will be presented to the Council of Ministers in the nearest future.

Libya: Borrell calls for humanitarian truce

On Libya, it is sad to say that the situation does not improve. Neither international appeals, nor the threat of the spread of coronavirus, have managed to stop the warring parties from fighting. The fighting continues and is even increasing” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said in his opening remarks at the press conference after a video conference of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Brussels.

“We need to further increase our engagement with the most influential international actors and conflict parties, to agree on a humanitarian truce – this is needed to deal with the coronavirus, but not only because of that – and on a ceasefire – this is needed for a political process to start and the conflict to end.

“We also addressed concerns of some Member States over the risk of increased migration flows. There will be no sustainable solution to migration challenges until we succeed in stabilising Libya. Unhappily, it is not yet for tomorrow”.

EU-AU meeting in Addis Ababa

Opening statement by President von der Leyen at the 10th EU-AU Commission-to-Commission meeting plenary session which took place on Feburary 26 in Addis-Ababa.

“…We are natural partners. And listening to you, I once again realised how similar our challenges and our opportunities are and how natural it is to work together in the mutual interest” president von der Leyen said.

“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies of the world. And your nations and community of nations are becoming more and more united – if you look at the African peacekeeping missions to the new Free Trade Area, I am very interested in them.

And just like Europe, you want to be the master of your future. So there are a lot of common points we have to discuss and where we can find common paths towards the future. I truly believe that the stronger Africa will be, the stronger we will be too.

So I am pleased to be back here with the College, the Commissioners. And indeed, this is the largest delegation of Commissioners as College ever. We never had so many Commissioners on a trip abroad, outside the European Union, so many Commissioners to visit. And therefore, this too is a very strong sign of the interest we have in each other.

You mentioned many topics we have to discuss, be it peace and security or jobs and skills. But, of course, also climate action, the transition to a digital society and economy, human mobility, trade, and many other topics.

It is our 10th College-to-College meeting, we have already come a long way. And we have worked together on security and development from the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, you mentioned it. We have started to invest in good jobs for youth across the continent.

It has become a partnership of equals, where both sides have something to win and both sides have a lot of responsibilities. So we are aware of the challenges, but we are also aware of the common perspective and the common opportunities we want to grasp.

Dear Moussa, when I first came to Addis, I told you that I came first of all to listen. And this is why we are all here today. After our first meeting, we have put together topics, a set of proposals – these will be the round tables today – the four main themes that we have chosen together.

It is first of all peace, security and good governance. Your initiative to silence the guns in Africa is something we are deeply impressed of, we want to support you as much as we can. It is a huge challenge, it is absolutely the right idea to silence the guns. So you have us at your side because this is of utmost importance for the development of this continent. And you rightly mentioned that Libya shows how natural it should be to join forces – we have met indeed in Berlin – but we know how difficult it is to implement afterwards. To keep everybody on board. But this is the essence of multilateralism. It is not only to sit down together to discuss things but it is also to implement them, to stay true to what you have accepted or what you have promised. So there is still a lot to do – we know it – and we count on you and your expertise to improve things knowing how hard this will be. So let us discuss how to best link your initiatives and our initiatives.

Second, on trade and investment. We all know the questions we have in front of us. How to make the most of your new Free Trade Area. How to bring investment to Africa. Indeed, as you mentioned, Europe is the largest investor in Africa and the largest trade partner to Africa. So there is a lot we have to share – a lot of technologies and expertise we can share. We would like to hear what you expect from our partnership, and how far you are willing to go.

Third, on the transition towards a cleaner, carbon-neutral and digital economy. I think no one understands climate change better than you. I just have to mention the growing desert. And all of us, in our continents, in Africa and in Europe, we see already and fear the consequences of climate change – the floodings, the draughts, the grief over losing species – we call it biodiversity. The knowledge that we have to profoundly change the way we produce and consume into a circular economy with respect to nature, live in harmony with nature. There is a lot we have to change, but also a lot of opportunities ahead of us we want to grasp – with new technologies and new opportunities. And the same goes, of course, for the digital age – I know that there is a thirst for digital skills in young Africans and young Europeans – let us join forces there, let us give them the technologies, let us give them the skills and, of course, frame the whole thing, because technology is neutral. So it is depending of us what we make out of it – whether it is going to be more positive or more difficult for our societies. And if I may say so, Africa does not have to repeat that same mistakes Europe did in the past. So you can take the fast track towards a more modern and more sustainable economy. Let us walk this path together, in our mutual interest.

Finally, on migration, human mobility and skills. I commend you for your initiatives on giving women full access to finance, full access to entrepreneurship, to create your own business – rightly so, I can only say. It is something where Europe also fights for, struggles with. We are still not where we want to be, we know these topics, but [and] we have improved and still, there is a lot to do. So I commend you on that. I commend you on your initiatives in investing in youth. We have achieved a lot in recent years, also on the topic of fighting smuggling and human trafficking, which disrespects the human dignity. So there, we join forces. And on the topic of voluntary returns: There is still a long way to go, yes. We must invest in what has worked over the years – so we have some experience. Over the last decades, we worked a lot together, we made mistakes, we had successes. So let us take this experience and move it forward. That what worked, we should extend, we should emphasise and intensify. And we must do more so that African youth can find a place within their own societies – through investment to education, health – these are the main topics we want to tackle.

We have come with proposals, but we want to hear from you, too. This is the fourth round table, I am very curious to hear the results. All this is based on the conversation that we will work on our contributions to a new Strategy with Africa. This is the starting point today. This is the very first step we take. It is a big step in taking our partnership – a long lasting partnership – to the next level. I am looking forward to that.”

First Leyen official visit attributed to Africa

“During her first official visit outside Europe today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Ursula von der Leyen outlined her ambition to further strengthen the EU-Africa partnership, based on mutual respect, promoting sustainable development, peace and security as well as greater economic ties and tackling climate change. The visit comes ahead of next year’s EU-Africa Summit.

https://twitter.com/juttaurpilainen/status/1203277226776682496?s=21

“Speaking in Addis Ababa today, President von der Leyen said: “I have chosen Africa for my very first visit outside Europe to send a strong political message because the African continent and the African Union matter to the European Union. Today we have seen in our discussions that there is room for greater cooperation between Europe and Africa.“

https://twitter.com/euinethiopia/status/1201190935448768513?s=21

“President von der Leyen met with African Union Commission Chairman, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, where she reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to boost cooperation at all levels.

https://twitter.com/euinethiopia/status/1201190935448768513?s=21

“The President then held bilateral meetings with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde.”

 

Angola against death penalty

In October Angola became party to the Optional Protocol aiming to the abolition of the death penalty, to the Convention against Torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to the Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

The European Union welcomed Angola’s alignment with these three significant international treaties on human rights. The EU diplomacy underlined that Angola reinforces the global trend towards the abolition of the capital punishment, the eradication of torture and the elimination of all forms of racism.

“These accessions by Angola should encourage other countries to follow this example” said the statement of the European External Action Service.

“The European Union reaffirms its strong commitment to the universal abolition of the death penalty, to combatting torture and other ill-treatment worldwide as well as all forms of racism“.

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