Category Archives: EU-Africa

EU: Haavisto second mission to Ethiopia

Pekka Haavisto, Foreign Minister of Finland, mandated by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, is undertaking a second mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Foreign Minister will discuss the situation in Ethiopia, notably the crisis in Tigray and its regional implications. Haavisto second mission to Ethiopia

During his visit, Haavisto will meet with Ethiopian authorities, and convey The EU’s continued concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Tigray, calling all parties to end hostilities and for the respect of International Humanitarian Law and International Refugee Law, as well as to allow independent investigations on alleged human rights abuse. He will also recall that Eritrean forces shall withdraw from Tigray. Finally, he will consult with the African Union to exchange views on the situation in Ethiopia as well as on regional issues.

On his way to Ethiopia, Haavisto is travelling to Saudi Arabia and to the United Arab Emirates for discussions on regional issues as well as the situation in Tigray.

He will report about his visit to European Ministers of Foreign Affairs during the next Foreign Affairs Council in April.

Somalia: EU calls for compromise

Brussels 23.03.2021 “Somalia’s leaders need to find a compromise leading to an immediate electoral process and a peaceful transfer of power, through the implementation of the September 17 agreement. The current lack of agreement seriously delays the pace of urgently needed reforms, for the detriment of Somalia’s citizens”, reads the statement of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on the current political situation. (Image: illustration)

“When individual priorities prevail over the general interest of the country, political leaders discredit themselves to represent their citizens. Those who undermine the dialogue or resort to the use of violence will be exposed to measures and will face the consequences of their actions”.

“Somalia’s federal and Member State leaders must honour their responsibilities to the people of Somalia and hold Parliamentary and Presidential elections immediately. No alternative, unilateral or partial process will receive our support”.

Niger: Borrell on defeating terrorism

Brussels 23.03.2021 “A few days after the attack on Banibangou, Niger is grieved by another massacre in the Tahoua region” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted, reacting upon the recent events in the Sahel region.
(Picture above: illustration).

“In one week, more than 200 civilians were victims of the indiscriminate and borderless violence of terrorist groups”.
“Nigeriens have not been intimidated by the various attacks that have marked these past weeks. On the contrary, they have completed a historic democratic process which constitutes a decisive stage for the consolidation of democracy in their country. They can count on the European Union to continue to lead with them the fight which will bring back security and stability to their country”, Borrell continued.

“By perpetrating these attacks against defenseless civilians, terrorists strengthen our resolve to confront them” the European diplomat concluded.

At least 137 Nigerien civilians were killed on Sunday, March 21, in an attack on several localities near the Malian border, the Nigerien government said in a statement late Monday.

“In the afternoon of Sunday March 21, 2021 at around 1 p.m. (1200GMT), the localities of Intazayane, Bakorat, Wirsnat and several other hamlets and camps located in the department of Tillia, Tahoua region, witnessed an attack perpetrated by armed bandits,” said the statement read on national TV by government spokesperson Abdourahamane Zakaria.

At least 137 people were killed and several others were injured, Zakaria said, adding that “reinforced security and health measures have been taken in the area and an investigation has been opened”.

The spokesperson also announced a three-day national mourning to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks.

It is the second deadly attack on Nigerien civilians in a week. On March 15, unidentified gunmen attacked and killed at least 58 civilians returning from a weekly market in the Banibangou department, Tillaberi region, near the Malian border, according to Zakaria.

Niger’s Tillaberi and Tahoua regions, bordering northern Mali, have been facing recurrent armed attacks since 2017 attributed to terrorist groups operating in northern Mali. As a result of these attacks, the entire Tillaberi region and part of Tahoua were placed under a state of emergency.

Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali in the Sahel are at the epicenter of one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crises.

The region hosts 851,000 refugees and nearly 2 million displaced people, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

In January, around 100 people were killed in attacks in two Tillaberi villages after the first round of presidential elections.

EU condemns Niger attacks

Brussels 17.03.2021 “The EU condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on March 15 that killed more than 58 civilians in Banibangou in #Niger. In this historic electoral period, the EU calls for social cohesion and reaffirms its commitment to Nigeriens. #AUEU” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

At least 58 people have been killed in Niger after attacks near the border with Mali, according to the government announcement.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on four vehicles that were bringing people back from a market in the Tillabéri region. No group has claimed the attacks, which happened on Monday, March 15.
However, at present there are two jihadist campaigns in Niger – one in the west near Mali and Burkina Faso, and another in the south-east on the border with Nigeria.

In a statement read out on public television, the Niger government said that “groups of armed, still unidentified individuals intercepted four vehicles carrying passengers back from the weekly market of Banibangou to the villages of Chinedogar and Darey-Daye”.

“The toll from these barbarous acts [is] 58 dead, one injured, a number of grain silos and two vehicles burned, and two more vehicles seized” the statement concluded.

Africa: EU provides €100M for vaccination

“The EU continues to strengthen its partnership with the_African Union.Our actions speak for themselves: we provide €100M to @AfricaCDC to support vaccination campaigns. At global level EU doubling #COVAX contribution to €1 billion. We can only be safe together. #StrongerTogether” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote.

“We will only be safe if the whole world is safe. As announced in the G7, the EU is doubling its contribution to COVAX, the world’s facility for universal access to vaccines – from €500 million to €1 billion.
Deliveries will start soon. A true moment of global solidarity” Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president tweeted.

“We are providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance for the roll out of vaccination in Africa.
The funding will be used to strengthen health systems, ensure the cold chains, buy equipment and train staff” she continued.

EU measures against piracy

Brussels 25.01.2021 The Council today approved conclusions launching the first pilot case of the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) concept in the Gulf of Guinea.

The CMP mechanism aims to increase the EU’s capacity as a reliable partner and maritime security provider, offering greater European operational engagement, ensuring a permanent maritime presence and outreach in Maritime Areas of Interest as established by the Council, and promoting international cooperation and partnership at sea.

The conclusions establish the Gulf of Guinea as a Maritime Area of Interest and welcome the creation of the Maritime Area of Interest Coordination Cell. The pilot in the Gulf of Guinea will further enhance the EU’s coordination capacities in strategic maritime environments.

Today’s launch of the Gulf of Guinea pilot reinforces the EU’s efforts in the region, in line with the EU’s Gulf of Guinea Strategy. It will support efforts by the coastal states and the organisations of the Yaoundé Architecture to address increasing security challenges such as armed piracy and kidnapping for ransom, which undermine maritime security and good governance of the oceans.

Based on the results of the pilot case, the CMP concept may be used in other areas of EU interest.

The Council will ensure political control and provide strategic guidance on the implementation of the Gulf of Guinea pilot and will review its implementation in January 2022.

The CMP concept emerged following the Informal meeting of defence ministers of 28-29 August 2019 in Helsinki.

The Council then adopted conclusions on 17 June 2020, which reiterated the willingness to launch the pilot project in the Gulf of Guinea, in line with the revised EU Maritime Security Strategy and Action Plan.

The purpose of the CMP is to increase the EU’s capacity as a reliable partner and maritime security provider, provide greater European operational engagement, ensure a permanent maritime presence and outreach in Maritime Areas of Interest as established by the Council and promote international cooperation and partnership at sea.

UGANDA: freedom of expression abuse

Brussels 21.01.2021 The European Union is calling for Ugandan officials to lift bans on social media networks imposed in the context of the highly disputed elections. Previously the EU condemned the action by the government to shut down internet which had violated the Ugandan citizens and observers right to expression and information.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced that the government had shut down social media. On January 9, Facebook deleted dozens of pro-Ugandan government accounts, saying they were “fake.” Museveni characterized Facebook’s action as arrogant. (Image: spokesperson of the European Commission).

Uganda: Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union on the elections
The European Union (EU) takes note of the results of the presidential elections declared by the Electoral Commission in Uganda:

“The EU welcomes that no major violent incidents were reported on election day but regrets that the disproportionate role given to security forces during the elections brought forth violence in the pre-electoral period, harassment of opposition leaders, suppression of civil society actors and media, and the raiding of a domestic observers office. Access to social media was disturbed, and a full internet blackout disrupted freedom of expression, freedom of information, and regular economic and social activities. In particular, this severely hampered the work of journalists, observers, party agents and others expected to report on the polling results and scrutinise them.

The EU calls on the Government of Uganda to respect the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful and safe assembly, including the free movement of all political actors and their supporters. The EU is gravely concerned by the continued harassment of political actors and parts of civil society. In line with its laws, international commitments and obligations, the Government must ensure that security services act with restraint, that any violations or abuses are duly and impartially investigated, and that those responsible are held to account.

Pending the final results of the electoral process including the parliamentary and local elections, the EU calls on all parties to refrain from any form of violence as well as from statements and actions that may incite violence, and for election challenges and complaints to be addressed in an independent and transparent manner through the available constitutional and legal remedies”.

ZAMBIA: EU calls for investigation

Brussels, 24.12.2020 “On Wednesday 23 December, Zambian Police dispersed a large group of supporters of the opposition by use of force. Two people are confirmed to have died. The EU expresses its condolences to their families” says the statement of the spokesperson of the European External Action Service – the official body of the the EU diplomacy.

The Inspector General of Police has committed to investigate the circumstances of these events. The investigation – conducted according to the laws of Zambia – should be comprehensive and open to scrutiny. This is especially important as Zambia approaches an election year, where respect for the Rule of Law and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms will be critical for an inclusive, transparent and credible process.

The EU reaffirms the importance it attaches to its partnership with Zambia, a force for peace and stability in Southern Africa, and with the Zambian people”.

DJIBOUTI: Borrell on EU-IGAD partnership

Brussels 20.12.2020 “The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders are meeting in Djibouti today at a time when the region has pulled together impressively to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and a desert locust invasion. And at a time, when the stability of the region is threatened by conflicts, ancient border disputes and a diplomatic stand-off” reads the statement of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on the IGAD Summit in Djibouti.

The European Union joins the millions across the region affected by the current crises, in placing their faith in today’s summit. We support all efforts to encourage dialogue and to silence guns.

As IGAD’s most significant international partner, we also hope that the outcome of today’s meeting will bring the region a step closer to finding a sustainable solution to the ongoing crises, in line with respect for international commitments and, in particular, international humanitarian law.

Regional organisations depend on their members’ mutual legal commitments. The solidarity that binds the IGAD Member States together is crucial for future decisive action”.

The 38th IGAD extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Governments has opened in Djibouti today, chaired by Sudanese Prime Minister Dr.Abdullah Hamdok, and attended by the African Union Commission Chairperson Mousa Faki.

The recent rift between Kenya and Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan, the old conflict between Eritrea and Djibouti, in addition to the Tigray region crisis, will be on table of the the summit of the The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) of East African Countries.

The Summit is taking place few days after the military operations of the federal troops in Tigray region of Ethiopia have been concluded, however the the unfolding humanitarian crisis is still going on, raising concerns of the international community facing urgent needs of tens of thousands of displaced, and refugees.

Mozambique in MEPs focus

Brussels 15.12.2020 “The crisis in the northern part of Mozambique is already causing more than half a million displaced people and more than 2,000 deaths” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, while debating the situation with Mozambique with the Members of the European Parliament in Brussels.

“And we, the European Union, continue to try to help through the humanitarian, development and peace-building axis, defending human rights at the centre of our response.

As if that were not enough, Cabo Delgado, one of the poorest provinces in Mozambique, with a tremendously fragile social structure, was devastated by Cyclone Kenneth in 2019. This has only aggravated a situation that is now complicated by the extension of the terrorism that comes from the north, from Somalia.

We have specialised teams working on the situation in Mozambique. We have permanent contacts with the government and with international institutions, the United Nations, the African Union and the United States.

We have allocated 100 million euros in the resilience program with the government to respond to the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19. And, of course, we are ready to study the possibility of contributing more resources.

This year we have already contributed 37 million euros in humanitarian aid, primarily to Cabo Delgado.

We are strengthening cooperation with all countries in the region, combating the impact of human trafficking – which, unfortunately, will increase with this situation – and helping to implement the Maputo peace agreement between the Mozambican government and RENAMO.
But the prospects are not positive, ladies and gentlemen. The situation in Mozambique is deteriorating under the protection and heat of natural disasters and of a country with extremely serious government difficulties.

In reality, it is the entire façade from the Horn of Africa to the Indian Ocean that is being the scene of an extension of conflicts and the spread of terrorist forces.

We are very concerned about the situation. It does not appear that we have improved in the Somalia area to the south. The recent tensions between Somalia and Kenya are not going to help either, but within Mozambique we must surely take stronger measures.

I have asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal [Augusto Santos Silva], who will assume the presidency shortly, to travel to the region as my personal envoy – since I cannot go due to scheduling reasons – and I have asked him as colleague of the [Foreign Affairs] Council, please pay special attention during your presidency to what is happening in that country, which Portugal knows very well.

Is what I can tell you. I cannot bring you many positive elements, just rest assured that we mobilize all the resources we have to act in Mozambique”.

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