Category Archives: Europe

Libya: EU promotes Berlin process

“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;” reads texts of the Joint Statement by the High Representative of the European Union for Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, issued today on January 7, 2020 in Brussels

https://twitter.com/eu_eeas/status/1214576639167873024?s=21

“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.”

Sahel meeting in Paris postponed

Today at doorstep of the European Council  in Brussels French President Macron announced the a postponement to early 2020 of a meeting of Sahel countries, he said.

I made the decision yesterday with President Issoufou to postpone” the summit “because of the many deaths that Niger unfortunately suffered two days ago,” said Emmanuel Macron on Thursday upon his arrival at the European Council in Brussels.

The decision to postpone the event, which was to address French military presence in the region as well as the fight against terrorsit groups engaged in jihad, follows an attack on a remote military camp in Niger.

Islamist militants killed 71 soldiers in an attack on a military camp located near the border with Mali, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, in the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory.

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The attack on the the military camp near border with Mali lasted three hours, and claimed lives of 71 soldiers, and forced President Mahamadou Issoufou to shorten his trip to Egypt.

Announced  early December by the French head of state at the end of the NATO summit in London, the African event was aimed to bring together the leaders of the G5 Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) and clarify the framework of intervention of France in the region.

“It is a need that responds to the observation of growing incomprehension in national public opinion, in the Sahel and in France,” said a source at the Elysée Palace. “You have to be able to come out of this summit with a common expression that recalls why France is there to support.”

Launched in August 2014, Operation Barkhane mobilizes some 4,500 French soldiers against the jihadist groups active in the region, soldiers called to be replaced by G5 Sahel force made up of 5,000 men from the local armies.

But in recent years, the French presence and that of 13,000 Blue Helmets of the MINUSMA  in Mali have been questioned by inhabitants and militants who denounce “occupation forces”.

Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi

Russia delivered two nuclear-capable bombers to South Africa on a training mission on October 23, a flight apparently timed to coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s opening of a flagship Russia-Africa Summit conceived to ensure Russian influence.

The two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers landed at Waterkloof air force base in Tshwane on October 23, the South African National Defence Force announced.The Ministry of Defence of Russian Federation has said the mission is designed to nurture military ties with South Africa.

Addressing African heads of state at a two-day summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi, President Putin supported trade with African countries, foreseen to double over the next four to five years. Meanwhile Moscow had written off  $20 billion of  African debts.

The first Russia-Africa summit is part of a Kremlin strategy to win business and restore influence that faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which actively supported left-wing governments and movements across the continent during the period of the Cold War.

“Many Russian companies have long and successfully worked with partners from the most different sectors of the African economy and plan to expand their influence in Africa. We of course will provide support at the state level,” President Putin said.

Sindika Dokolo repatriates African heritage

#IncarNations exhibition of African artefacts intends to break the established patterns, presenting African in its aesthetics magnitude, but regard it as a philosophy. The synergy between Congolese art collector Sindika Dokolo (47) and South African artist Kendell Geers (51) produced a concept of appreciation  of continent’s cultural heritage bypassing traditional outlook. (Image above: Sindika Dokolo (right) and Nadia Yala Kisukidi, philosopher, BOZAR, October 4, 2019).

Three months event in Brussels prestigious cultural centre BOZAR has concluded with debates on the future of African art heritage, and its crucial role in nation building process, inspiring communities to evolve, moving away from colonial past, including break-away of imagination. (Image above: Chokwe Mask, Angola, #Incarnations, BOZAR)

Sindika Dokolo is convinced that in globalisation context, assembling African art and repatriating the artefacts to Africa is a significant part of the inter-African discussion on cultural heritage, restoring the unique role of African people in ensemble of nations.

Determined to shift away from “exoticism”  and detachment of the artefacts from the origins, Congolese Dokolo attempts to reconstruct African history  in its original purity of ante-Colonial era,  before Portuguese entered Congo.

Dokolo insists that African artefacts are more than objects, but crucial elements in inter-African debate on cultural heritage, restoring the forgotten chapter of African history, and projecting the unique profile of  African identity.

The Congolese collector underlines, that the very same pieces esteemed by Western art experts as masterpieces, are regarded by many Africans as expressions of “savagery” of ante-Colonial era, preferring to see them to be destroyed and forgotten. From this point of view the establishment of African art museums in Africa will help the complex process of learning to appreciate proper African heritage. But not only, because Dokolo is convinced art is the unique bridge that will empower Africans to  “love” themselves, and heal the scars left by savageries of Colonialism.

https://twitter.com/annavandensky/status/1180169457219653632?s=21

Image below: Sindika Dokolo in search of lost African art, #IncarNations exhibition


Museum Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac free visit

Paris museum Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac will be “free for ten days” to pay tribute to the former head of state at the origin of its creation, said it director, Stéphane Martin.

*The Museum will be free for ten days, (…) the time that people who want to pay tribute to the President can visit,” said Stéphane Martin on Europe 1 after the death of Jacques Chirac . Since, the establishment has been offering a temporary exhibition dedicated to acquisitions made since 1998, when the museum’s public establishment was created, which was opened in 2006.

This exhibition, which began two days before the death of Jacques Chirac,is really his collection, the collection that began in 1998 when he launched the museum Quai Branly,” said Stéphane Martin. This retraces “what we did for 20 years thanks to him in terms of enriching the collections”. “The images of the president are everywhere in the museum, the flags are at half-mast, it’s a very emotional moment for the teams,” said Stéphane Martin, adding that “a guestbook is available to visitors.

 

 

Rare Angola Mask at BOZAR

The rare mask from Angola is at display at BOZAR, Brussels, among the artefacts of the IncarNations exhibition. The “Chihongo” masculine mask, meaning a spirit of wealth, belong to tradition of Chokwe people of Angola, used to honour the male ancestors, believed to have power to bestow prosperity to the worshipers.

The type of masks are traditionally associated with the ancient rituals of the Mukanda school, devoted to young boys passing to manhood.

The mask went missing from Dundo Regional Museum, Angola, during the civil war (1975-2002). The story of the quest to find the mask, presumed stolen, began two years ago, and has been concluded successfully – the artefact has been found, and will be returned to the Angolan authorities.

Before it is sent back to Angola, it is at display at the Centre for Fine Arts as part of the IncarNations exhibition.

The exhibition includes a space devoted to the narrative of ongoing recovery project of the Dundo Museum, where the rare mask is integrated and open to public until the 6th of October.

G7 focus on Africa

Let me also say that the EU has concrete proposals for Africa. We are keeping our longstanding commitment to the Global Fund against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and we will contribute 550 million euros to the replenishment of the Fund. This means that our overall involvement will exceed 1 billion euros” said the president of the European Council Donald Tusk (pictured) ahead of the G7 Summit in Biarritz.

“I am also happy to announce that the EU will join the “Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa”, which is an important step in the fight for women’s empowerment. The EU’s contribution of over 85 million euros will help develop 100.000 businesses run by women. Last but not least, the EU will contribute an initial 1 million euros to the “International Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence” that Nadia Murad and Doctor Denis Mukwege, winners of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, will present to G7 leaders tomorrow.”

South Africa will collaborate with other developing countries that have been invited to participate in the summit in order to advance Africa‘s developmental agenda, the Presidency said before President Cyril Ramaphosa left for Biarritz, France to attend the summit scheduled for August 24-26, following South Africa’s invitation to attend as a key partner.

Biarritz25/08/2019 AMENDED:

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