Category Archives: EU

EU awaits ECOWAS decision on Mali

Brussels 04.10.2020 The EU once again reiterated its full support to ECOWAS on the issue of lifting Mali sanctions, imposed by West Africa the regional powers.  Meanwhile the transitional government is hopeful that sanctions placed on Mali by ECOWAS are likely to be lifted soon. Mali’s newly appointed transitional President, Bah Ndaw held a meeting with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Permanent Representative to Mali, Boly Hamidou to discuss the blockade problem, which has grave consequences for population of the country, and neighbourhood regions, involved in cross-border trade.

“After the swearing-in of the President of the Transition, Mr. Bah N’daw on September 25, the appointment of a civilian prime minister, Mr. Moctar Ouane, on Sunday, September 27, we are following the developments in view of the Transition on a track in accordance with ECOWAS requirements” said the EU spokesperson to Africa Diplomatic, while commenting on the issue. “In this context, the EU awaits the decision of ECOWAS regarding the sanctions imposed on Mali.” 

“The confirms her readiness to work in close collaboration with the UN / AU / ECOWAS Follow-up Committee in support of a successful transition. The EU gives full support to ECOWAS, whose heads of state are calling for a transfer of power to a transition led by a civilian President and Prime Minister, who can ensure the transition to a return to constitutional order” the spokesperson has underlined.

ECOWAS requires that the position of vice president, instituted by the board, be deprived of the prerogative to replace the president if the latter is unable to exercise the position. The post of vice president was handed over to the head of the military who led the coup d’état – Colonel Assimi Goita.

ECOWAS is concerned that the army may regain control in a transition in which it already plays a prominent role. The position of vice-president and his duties must be included in a “letter,” a kind of fundamental document, to which the board refers to organize the transition.

However, no final official version of this text, according to which the president and vice president took office on September 25, has not been published. ECOWAS is requesting the publication of this document. A source close to the Mali officers said it could be revealed soon but would remain anonymous.

Meanwhile Nigeria President Buhari is reluctant to lift up sanctions, after the meeting with the Special Envoy to present a formal report to the new ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, “who will then write us officially, and we then determine the next steps.”

The Nigerian President said with about two-thirds of Mali currently under occupation by terrorists, “the priority of the military should be to secure their country,” rather than hold on to power, former army General Buhari said. Buhari is a retired general of the Nigerian Army and served as military head of state from 1983 to 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état.

COVID19: Morocco removed from EU travel list

The European Union removed Morocco from its safe travel list of countries from which the bloc allows non-essential voyage, after a review by EU ambassadors on August 7, Friday.

Morocco recorded a record high of 6,385 new cases of contamination in the past week, according to a statistics by the Johns Hopkins University. The official soruces in Morocco have reported a total of 29,644 cases and 449 deaths.

The list is recommended as guideline for the EU’s 27 members, proposing to EU members not to open their borders to all the countries which are not included into safe travel list.

It is based on criteria including the monitoring of number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in a country over the fortnight, whether its case load per 100,000 people is in line with the EU average, and testing capacities.

The decision reduces the list to 10 countries, and it takes effect from August 8, after the EU also excluded Algeria last week.

The safe countries deemed to have the coronavirus pandemic largely under control are Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

China has been approved, although travel would reumed on reciprocity basis only.

Rwanda genocide fugitive arrested in Paris

Genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga (84), who is accused of funding Rwanda militias that massacred about 800,000 people, was arrested on May 16 near Paris after being 26 years at large, the French justice ministry said.

Rwanda’s most-wanted man ($5 million U.S. reward), was living under a false identity in a flat in Asnieres-Sur-Seine, according to French authorities.

French gendarmes arrested him at 0530 GMT on May 16, the Ministry said.

Kabuga was indicted in 1997 on seven criminal counts including genocide, complicity in genocide and incitement to commit genocide, all in relation to the 1994 Rwanda tragic events, according to the UN-established International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

Rwanda’s two main ethnic groups are the Hutus and Tutsis entered a civil war in the early 1990s.

A Hutu businessman, Kabuga is accused of funding the militias that massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and their moderate Hutu allies during 100 days in 1994.

Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, known to have been the financier of Rwanda genocide, had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” the French ministry statement said.

Kabuga’s arrest opens the juridical procedure at Paris Appeal Court and later expected to be transferred to the custody of the international criminal court in the Hague, Netherlands and Arusha, Tanzania.

In due procedures the fugitive would then be brought before UN judges, an IRMCT spokesman said.

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.

Libya: EU diplomats joint statement

“As participants to the Berlin process and in a renewed commitment to the Berlin conclusions, in this beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan, we want to unite our voices to those of the UN Secretary-General Guterres and his Acting Special Representative for Libya, Stephanie Turco Williams, in their call for a humanitarian truce in Libya” reads the text of the joint statement of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, and foreign ministers of Germany, France, and Italy.

“The conflict continues unabated and developments during the latest weeks have increased concerns, in particular over the situation among the long suffering Libyan population. We call on all the Libyan actors to get inspired by the spirit of the Holy Ramadan, engage in resuming talks for a genuine ceasefire on the basis of the draft agreement of the Military Committee of 23 February, and in view of a political solution to the conflict, and unite their efforts to face the common enemy which the current pandemic risks represent in the interest of the whole country.

“Ramadan kareem to all Libyans”.


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”.

Michel statement on Libya

“I would like to thank Chancellor Merkel, and the organisers of today’s conference, for your tireless work at this critical moment in the Libyan crisis” reads the statement of the EU Council president Charles Michel, issued after the Berlin Conferenece on Libya, which took place on Sunday, January 19.

It is encouraging to see the most influential regional and international partners come together in support of the UN-led efforts to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis.

As the EU has consistently stated, the only sustainable solution is through UN mediation efforts that put the needs of all Libyan people to the forefront.

I wish to reaffirm today the commitment of the European Union to the immediate cessation of hostilities in Libya in the interest of stability in its immediate neighborhood. We support the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya, and this in the interest of regional stability and prosperity – this is vital for Europe.

We have supported German-led mediation efforts launched last year in support of the UN peace process. I would like to pay special tribute to UN Special Representative Salame, who, under the authority of Secretary General Guterres, has made every effort to bring the parties to the negotiations table in order to find a political solution to the conflict.

We would like to encourage cooperation with the African Union and the League of Arab States.

In recent weeks, High Representative Borrell and I have worked to support the conclusion of a ceasefire and for the relaunch of the peace process.

We are committed to play an important role in the follow-up to the Berlin Conference. We represent Libya’s main economic partner and primary investor. Libyan youths look to Europe when they study abroad. Libya’s long term prosperity depends on these economic and cultural ties.

That is why the EU is gearing up to implement the outcome of the Berlin Conference. We are ready to mobilise our means where they are most needed.

In the short term, our contribution to the follow-up to this Conference, we are reflecting on how best to contribute to the monitoring of the ceasefire and the respect of the arms embargo. On the arms embargo, the EU was the only regional organisation to enforce it after 2016. We intend to continue that effort, working with our partners around this table, to cover all the corridors where the embargo is being violated.

In the longer term, as conditions allow, we hope to make progress in other areas of the proposed Conclusions:

political – to support a future national conference, the organisation of elections, and possible work on the constitution;
economic – actions focused on capacity building in national institutions, such as the National Oil Company, Central Bank and Libyan Investment Authority;
security sector reform (through our Common Security and Defence Policy instruments, including the existing civilian mission EUBAM);
and human rights – the EU wishes to bring its expertise.
The EU is ready to host a Senior Officials Meeting of the International Follow-up Committee tasked with implementing the Conference Conclusions. And we are ready to play an active role in the technical working groups created by this process.

Now it is time for all members of the international community to work together to consolidate the ceasefire and respect the UN arms embargo and also preserve the unity of Libya’s financial institutions on which the unity of the country itself depends.

In the past, we have shown unity on a number of these objectives. For example, thwarting illegal attempts to purchase oil outside the official circuit. In other areas, we should have done better, in particular, on the arms embargo, as highlighted by the UN in its reports.

Moving forward, we should also avoid unilateral actions, such as the signing of agreements, which exacerbate the conflict. I am aiming at the actions that are incompatible with international law and which create a pretext for external interference in the Libyan conflict. The European Union has taken an unambiguous position on this, with the conclusions of the European Council on 12 December 2019.

Today we are committed to the Berlin process and the UN mediation efforts that put the needs of the Libyan people first. Today is an important step, but much work remains to be done. We are ready to contribute.

Al-Sarraj visits Europarliament

EP President David Sassoli will meet Fayez Al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord, today at 14:30 (Brussels time).

The meeting is taking place during a visit by Mr Al-Sarraj to Brussels to discuss the ongoing situation in Libya with various EU leaders.

DEVELOPING STORY

After meeting with president Sassoli in the European parliament in Brussels Fayez Al-Sarraj answered two questions of Turkish correspondent for Anaddolu News agency. Asked in English questions were responded in Arabic.

Fayez Al-Sarraj used visit as an opportunity to blame Marshall Kalifa Haftar for engaging foreign powers and mercenaries against GNA, being sole internationally recognized authority in Libya.

According to our Arab journalists Al-Sarraj said he represents “legitimate and internationally recognized” government of #Libya, defending his right to sign agreements with third parties.

AMENDED:

With Mr Fayez Mustafa Al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord, we examined the latest developments in the situation in Libya. I reiterated the call for an immediate end to the military conflict, which is only bringing mourning and suffering to the civilian population. The solution to the crisis cannot be a military one; it can only be through a political process bringing together all parts of the country, under the auspices of the United Nations and without any external interference. The EU is ready to play its role in fostering dialogue between all the main actors. We are committed to supporting the efforts of the EU High Representative Josep Borrell for a peaceful solution in Libya under the framework of the Berlin process”  the statement of the President David Sassoli reads.

Borrell hosts Libya meeting

The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell and the foreign ministers of Italy, France, Germany and the UK will gather on January 7 in the afternoon in Brussels to discuss escalation of hositilites Libya, the spokesman confirmed. 

https://twitter.com/annavandensky/status/1214519745539653637?s=21

The EU reteintes the calls for cessation of violence, and confrontation between different groups in Libya.

“On Tuesday 7 January, the High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, will meet in Brussels with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Mr Heiko Maas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Mr Luigi Di Maio and the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Mr Dominic Raab, to discuss the situation in Libya. 

“The High Representative/Vice-President will address the press at approximately 15:30 (Brussels time) in the European External Action Service building” the EEAS communication service confirmed.

AMENDED: Josep Borrell statement after the meeting:

“Confronted with the worrying recent military escalation in Libya and also in view of the Foreign Affairs Council scheduled for Friday 10th January, we met in Brussels today to reaffirm our commitment to immediately halt the fighting around Tripoli and elsewhere and to discuss how the EU can further contribute to the UN mediation and to a swift return to political negotiations.

“The EU is of the firm conviction that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis and that a protracted conflict will only bring more misery to ordinary people, exacerbate divisions, increase the risk of partition, spread instability across the region and aggravate the threat of terrorism. An immediate cessation of hostilities is therefore crucial.

All the members of the international community need to strictly respect and enforce the UN arms embargo. Continuing outside interference is fuelling the crisis. The more the Libyan warrying parties rely on foreign military assistance, the more they give external actors undue influence on sovereign Libyan decisions, to the detriment of the country’s national interests and of regional stability.

In particular, we stressed the necessity to avoid unilateral actions such as the signing of agreements which further exacerbate the conflict or actions which create a pretext for external interference that are contrary to the interests of the Libyan people, as well as to European interests, as underlined by the European Council conclusions of 12 December 2019.

On the contrary, the Berlin process and the UN mediation efforts put the needs of all Libyans to the forefront and suggest sustainable solutions to core issues such as unifying institutions, distributing the country’s wealth equitably, and outlining a realistic roadmap towards a political settlement.

We urge all Libyan parties to sincerely embrace these UN-led efforts and to return to negotiations. The EU will continue to support the UN mediation and will help implementing any decisions that may be taken in Berlin.

MEPs condemn Egypt crackdown on protest

The European Parliament strongly condemns the latest state crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests, as well as the ongoing restrictions on fundamental rights in the country. Egyptian authorities have in the past weeks arbitrarily arrested over 4300 people who have been protesting against systemic corruption, repression and austerity measures, and have demanded the resignation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The European Parliament strongly condemns the latest state crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests, as well as the ongoing restrictions on fundamental rights in the country. Egyptian authorities have in the past weeks arbitrarily arrested over 4300 people who have been protesting against systemic corruption, repression and austerity measures, and have demanded the resignation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

MEPs call for an end to all acts of violence and intimidation, and the immediate release of all human rights defenders detained or sentenced for carrying out their legitimate work. They also express grave concern at the reprisals against those in Egypt who cooperate or seek to cooperate with international human rights organisations or the UN’s human rights bodies.

A profound review of the EU’s relations with Egypt is necessary, MEPs say. They argue that the human rights situation in the country requires a serious revision of the Commission’s budget support operations, which should be restricted to primarily support civil society. The full resolution, adopted by a show of hands, will be available here (24.10.2019).

MEPs call for an end to all acts of violence and intimidation, and the immediate release of all human rights defenders detained or sentenced for carrying out their legitimate work. They also express grave concern at the reprisals against those in Egypt who cooperate or seek to cooperate with international human rights organisations or the UN’s human rights bodies.

A profound review of the EU’s relations with Egypt is necessary, MEPs say. They argue that the human rights situation in the country requires a serious revision of the Commission’s budget support operations, which should be restricted to primarily support civil society. The full resolution, adopted by a show of hands, will be available here (24.10.2019).

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