Category Archives: NEWS

Burkina Faso: EU denounces power grab

Brussels 01.10.2022 “The European Union denounces the new coup in Burkina Faso, which jeopardises the efforts undertaken for several months, in particular by ECOWAS, to supervise the Transition” reads the Declaration of the High Representative Josep Borrell on the new “coup de force” (power grab).

“The European Union calls for compliance with the commitments made, which formed the basis of the agreement reached with ECOWAS on July 3, in order to support Burkina Faso towards free and transparent national elections before July 1, 2024”.

“The European Union also deplores the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the country, and remains at the side of the people of Burkina Faso in these difficult times”.

Burkina’s Faso’s state television was interrupted on Friday by members of the country’s army declaring the previous coup’s leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, had been overthrown.

The spokesman said: “People of Burkina Faso, fellow citizens, since 24 January 2022, faced by the continually worsening security situation, we the officers and junior officers of the national armed forces were motivated to take action with the desire to protect the security and integrity of our territory.”

Colonel Damiba and his allies overthrew the democratically elected president in January this year but has failed to quell jihadist violence and frustration with his leadership has grown in recent months.

The spokesman introduced Capt. Ibrahim Traore as the new head state.

At present the whereabouts of Colonel Damiba are unknown. The situation remains confused and fluid.

Burkina Faso: EU hopes calm returns soon

Brussels 30.09.2022 European Commission follows with concern the situation in Burkina Faso, said the press person of the European External Action Service. The military movements were observed from 4:30 AM early morning hours. “The situation remains confusing and fluid”, she continued.(Image above: social media).

“We are in permanent contact with our delegation there, which informs us about the situation. It is clear that the European Union hopes that the situation will return to calm soon”. She added that the EU expects that civil society will stay united in these challenging times.

Reports of gunfire near the Presidential palace in Ougadougou flow on social media. It is unclear at the moment if it could be a mutiny? The current President Lt Col Paul Sandaogo Dimba who took power in January this year from Gen Roach Marc Kabore. At present his whereabouts are unknown.

Gunfire rang out early in Burkina Faso’s capital and the state broadcaster went off the air, sparking fears that another coup attempt may be underway, nine months after the democratically elected president was ousted from power, the AP reports.

Burkina Faso capital under gunfire

Brussels 30.09.2022 The situation is Burkina Faso’s capital is “confused” after heavy gunfire was reported, the BBC reports. Armed soldiers have taken positions at several points in Ouagadougou. (Image: illustration).

The country’s leader Col Paul-Henri Damiba, who seized power in January, is “in the capital and doing well,” news site Jeune Afrique reports.

Tigray: towards peace

Brussels 12.09.2022 “The Regional Government of Tigray announces its readiness to abide by an immediate cessation of hostilities and to participate in AU-led peace process. This opportunity should be seized by all. Now. EU ready to support” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.
Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels said Sunday, September 11, they were ready for a ceasefire and would accept a peace process led by the African Union, removing an obstacle to negotiations with the government to end almost two years of brutal warfare.

The announcement was made amid a flurry of international diplomacy after fighting flared last month for the first time in several months in northern Ethiopia, torpedoing a humanitarian truce.

“The government of Tigray is prepared to participate in a robust peace process under the auspices of the African Union,” said a statement by the Tigrayan authorities.

“Furthermore, we are ready to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities in order to create a conducive atmosphere.”

Mozambique: fighting terrorism

Brussels 12.09.2022 “Last week I was in Mozambique, a country where EU support plays a significant including through one of the largest recipients of EU support and host to one of our EU military training missions” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

“My visit aimed to show that the EU does not forget crises in other parts of the world, despite facing the worst threat to European security since the end of World War II with the war of aggression against Ukraine. Mozambique’s fight against terrorism is one of these security crises that we help to tackle using all EU instruments.”
n Europe, we are very focused on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its implications for European security. But other crises and global problems do not stop. On the contrary, they have often been aggravated by the consequences of this war. We need more than ever to continue to work with our partners around the globe to defend the rules-based order and to keep up our work on global challenges. For this purpose, the EU’s close partnership with Africa is crucial.

The EUTM Mozambique, launched in November 2021, is a key element in the EU’s commitment to help Mozambique’s fight against this terrorism. Over the next two years, it will train 11 units of the Mozambican army (commandos and marines) that will be part of a future Quick Reaction Force. In addition to military training, the EUTM is also providing training on human rights and international humanitarian law, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and relevant UN organisations. Ten EU member states participate to the Mission with 110 soldiers deployed at the moment. This mission is now fully operational, having already trained 600 soldiers. During my stay in Mozambique, I visited the mission to hand over European Peace Facility (EPF)-funded equipment and witness a change of command.

In all of this, we work closely with the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), and during my visit, I announced the EU decision to provide € 15 million to this mission in addition to the € 89 million of EPF support. It is the first time ever that we train people while in parallel providing them with equipment. In the coming weeks, I hope that our member states will also agree on my proposal to support the Rwandese military mission that has been decisive to improve the situation in Cabo Delgado.

“This was the backdrop of my two-days visit to Mozambique. It is a coastal country in Southern Africa with an area bigger than any EU country, inhabited by some 30 million people. With its fast demographic growth (6 children per woman on average), its population is set to double by 2050 (and already now almost half of the population is under the age of 14). Mozambique ranks 181/189 on the Human Development Index and the poverty rate is above 60%. After the country became independent from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique went through a protracted civil war that ended in 1992, but it was only in 2019, that a “definitive” peace and reconciliation agreement was reached. My predecessor Federica Mogherini came to Maputo to witness the signature of this historic agreement that the EU supported significantly.

“While the agreement holds for most of the country, the northern Cabo Delgado province has suffered from armed attacks since 2017 leading to an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis. Fighting have resulted in over 4.000 deaths, some 950,000 internally displaced persons and 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in this region. This insurgency is inspired and driven by ISIS, while local grievances and domestic root causes also play a significant role. Foreign fighters are involved and their transit to Cabo Delgado poses risks to neighbouring countries. Due to this instability, the region has become a hotspot of organised crime (heroin, wildlife, wood and gemstone trafficking for instance) in Mozambique and the entire Southern African region.

“Following the establishment of an EU training mission and the deployment in 2021 of Rwandan and Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops to Cabo Delgado to support the efforts of the Mozambican army, these armed groups temporarily lost the initiative. However, security incidents have continued in the province as the armed groups have dispersed and changed tactics.

But we know that you cannot win a war against terror with soldiers and weapons only. To win this kind of war, one needs to win the peace as well. This is why we work closely with the Government of Mozambique to cover the full spectrum of humanitarian, development, security and peace-building actions. In parallel to our security support, we focus on education, access to water and sanitation, energy, nutrition and climate change. This includes a package of € 428 million for the period 2021-2024, in addition to around €R 36 million of humanitarian assistance (mainly to Cabo Delgado since 2021).

Some journalists in Mozambique have asked me whether our support to the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado is linked to the gas reserves in this region. My answer was clear: the gas discoveries in Mozambique should benefit the Mozambican people first and foremost, while they can also help to tackle the global energy crisis and energy demand. But that is not the primary reason of our engagement in Mozambique. The security of Europe starts in places that can be sometimes thousands of kilometres away. The Somali crisis have had profound repercussions on the neighbouring countries and the ship traffic in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel crisis also started in a limited area and quickly spread all over the region. We need to help avoid that kind of large scale destabilization happening in another place on the continent. This is why we support the efforts of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado”.

Borrell visits Mozambique

Brussels 09.09.2022 “It has been a very important visit. And for me, it is a good occasion to discuss with our African partners about the very difficult and complex international landscape and the fundamental geopolitical developments that we have been living in during this year” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell addressing President Filipe Nyusi and Foreign Minister Dlhovo, for receiving him today Mozambique.

“In this geopolitical environment, the European Union wants to continue being a close partner of Africa, and in particular of Mozambique.

“At the moment, we are living the most difficult moment, the most challenging threats – I can say – to our own security since the end of World War II. But the European Union does not forget other crises in other parts of the world.

“We are very much aware that this war in Ukraine is affecting everybody, and that in some countries like in Mozambique, you have your own problems. And that they also deserve our attention.

“And I wanted to visit Mozambique, not only because it is one of the largest recipients of the European Union’s support. It is. Among all African countries, Mozambique is a country that receives strong support from the European Union, the third one in terms of absolute support.

“Not only because of that. That would be a good reason, but also because I wanted to express the commitment and solidarity of the European Union with Mozambique in fighting against terrorism and looking for peace. Unhappily, my visit coincides with the killing of six people in the Nampula province just yesterday. I took a good note of this, because this attack and this killing of six people is a stark reminder that the fight against terrorism is not over and that, unhappily, it is spreading out of the Cabo Delgado region to other regions.

“This is not a new threat. You, Minister, know that better than I do. And to help the Mozambican armed forces in Cabo Delgado, we have implemented in a record time, an [EU] Training Mission (EUTM Mozambique) that has already trained 600 soldiers. And will continue doing that.

“We are also delivering military capacities. Through our European Peace Facility, we are funding equipment such as pickup trucks and individual combat equipment. Tomorrow, in my visit to the Headquarters, the barracks of the mission, I will be witnessing the handover of this material to the Mozambican armed forces.

“I also want to commend the efforts of the Rwandan contingent and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission to Mozambique, the SAMIM, which we are also supporting.

“I am pleased that today I could announce to the President, the decision taken in Brussels, at the European Union Headquarters, just this morning, to provide €15 million to this mission.

“Allow me to point out, to show, the importance of our complementary military support to this training mission. We are going to provide €89 million on military capabilities for the units that we are training – not only training, but preparing them to fulfil their duty.

“But we know that we cannot win a war against terror only with soldiers and weapons. The solution cannot be only a military solution. In these circumstances, you cannot win the war if you do not win peace.

“Development needs peace and peace needs development. Both things have to go together, hand in hand. This is why our approach has to be comprehensive – not only military support, but also boosting economic development. Economic growth, job creation, wellbeing of the people, public services, education, health. These are the basis of peace. And that is why we are working closely with the government of Mozambique. And, in parallel to our security support, we are focusing on education, on access to water and sanitation, energy, nutrition and the fight against climate change. These are the basis of a good society. And a good society is the only remedy against terror.

“Allow me a last word. I want also to say that to strengthen our partnership with Mozambique, we want to do that on the international stage. Not only bilaterally, but also taking into account what is happening in the wider world.

“And I had to congratulate the President for the election of Mozambique as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. For which I want also to congratulate you, Foreign Minister [Verónica Macamo Dlhovo], as you will have to play an important role in New York.

“We hope that we will continue working with Mozambique to defend multilateralism and a rules-based international order – including the United Nations’ Charter, which is the basic pillar of this order. And multilateralism, nowadays, needs to be strengthened, not to be weakened. Because it is the best tool that we have to address global trends and challenges that threaten all of us, all around the world.”

Borrell on Tunisia referendum

Brussels 27.07.2022 “The European Union takes note of the preliminary results of the constitutional referendum held in Tunisia on 25 July, for which turnout was low. A broad consensus among the various political forces, including political parties and civil society, is both essential for the success of a process that preserves the democratic acquis and necessary for all the major political and economic reforms Tunisia will undertake. The legitimacy and sustainability of those reforms will depend on it” reads the Declaration by Josep Borrell, the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the constitutional Tunisia referendum.

“The preparations and arrangements for the parliamentary elections scheduled for December should therefore be seen as an opportunity to foster a genuine exchange within the framework of an inclusive national dialogue. As the European Union and the Venice Commission have repeatedly pointed out, that dialogue will be an important condition for establishing a legislative framework which ensures the legitimacy and representativeness of the future parliament”.

“The election of the parliament will be the cornerstone of the return to normal functioning of the country’s institutions, with full respect for democratic principles, in particular the separation of powers, consolidation of the rule of law, pluralism and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

“Freedom of expression, press freedom, freedom to demonstrate and the other fundamental freedoms are essential values of democratic states to which the European Union attaches particular importance and which must be preserved”.

“The European Union will continue to follow developments closely, and will stand by the Tunisian people and listen to their needs at this crucial time for the country. The European Union reaffirms that it is ready and willing to provide political support for a successful democratic transition. It will also continue to support the Tunisian people as they respond to the major socio-economic and financial challenges facing the country, which have been aggravated by the impact of the Russian aggression against Ukraine on food and energy security and which call for urgent structural reforms”.

Eid al-Adha wishes to Sudanese

Brussels 14.07.2022 The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States) and the European Union extend our warm wishes to the Sudanese people at the conclusion of Eid al-Adha:

“Eight months after the military takeover we note the announcement by Sovereign Council Chair General Burhan that the military forces will cease participation in political talks. We acknowledge the stated intention of the military forces, upon agreement among civilian parties to form a transitional government, to withdraw from the political scene.

“The military and security forces should be held to this commitment. They must also end violence against civilians and hold to account those responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights violations and abuses.

“We encourage all political actors committed to the democratic transition to engage swiftly in an inclusive dialogue to form a civilian-led transitional government. This process must deliver an agreement that defines: a clear timeline for free and fair elections; procedures for selecting a transitional prime minister and other key officials; and a dispute resolution mechanism to help avoid future political crises.

“A transitional government must be civilian-led, and have broad-based, nation-wide support. There must also be full clarity on, and oversight of, the military’s role and responsibilities. Such matters cannot be defined unilaterally by the military; they require dialogue and transparency to help avoid future disputes.

“We commend the tripartite initiative of the United Nations, African Union, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development to facilitate such an inclusive dialogue and support their continued efforts.

“Nearly three years since Sudan began its transition to democracy, we deeply regret the continued loss of life, and reversal of important economic and political progress. We commend the devotion of the Sudanese people to a more peaceful and just future and honor the sacrifices of those who have lost their lives in support of democracy.

“The Troika and the European Union look forward to supporting a transitional civilian government that enjoys popular support, reflecting the hope and aspirations we share with the Sudanese people”.

Malawi elephants relocation

11.07.2022 After several years of intense wildlife conservation, the Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi is being decongested. Subsequently the 250 elephants will be relocated from this reserve to the Kasungu National Park in the centre of the East African country.

The waste operation, which will be carried out during July 2022 by the Malawi government and its partners, aims to alleviate pressure on the habitat and reduce potential human-wildlife conflicts.

The Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), the conservation organisation African Parks and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) are organising a complicated animal decongestion operation in Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi. The animals will be transported about 350 km by road from Liwonde National Park, managed by African Parks, to Kasungu National Park, supported by IFAW.

BRAFA 2022: Tribal art and “fetishes”

Brussels 17.06.2022 Anna Van Densky: As the centrepiece of its stand, Montagut Gallery will be presenting an exceptional Soninke statue, from the Dogon culture, Mali, thirteenth century.

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A selection of “fetishes” from the Democratic Republic of Congo will also be on display, at Didier Claes.
The exhibition “Nkisi” focuses on the beauty of these “force-objects” which, through the addition of
various elements, were magically charged and enabled access to their ritual function of divination and
communication with the spirits. Dalton Somaré will present a very graphic portrait mask,
Baule, Côte d’Ivoire, late nineteenth century, with traces of polychrome.

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The Guilhem Montagut Gallery has focused primarily on art from the early periods of tribal societies, with particular emphasis on African art. Since 1990, the gallery in Barcelona has provided private collectors and institutions with high quality pieces, offering the highest guarantees concerning value and authenticity. The gallery participates in a number of art fairs every year, including Feriarte in Madrid, Parcours des Mondes in Paris and Bruneaf in Brussels.

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The 67th edition of BRAFA, which will take place from Sunday, June 19th to Sunday, June 26th, 2022,
will open in the summer time season. From the first steps the visitors will be enchanted by a
richly-coloured decor welcoming them to daydream and contemplate. Elegantly flowered, covered with a unique carpet, and embellished by sculptures, paintings and drawings by our Belgian guest of honour, Arne
Quinze, the Fair will welcome 115 Belgian and international exhibitors spread over two Palaces at Brussels Expo, an emblematic and historic venue.

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Whilst this change of scenery has undoubtedly breathed new life into BRAFA, the Fair 2022 has also
retained its essential values: quality, authenticity and eclecticism. Collectors will be able to explore
the aisles where long-standing galleries and 18 new exhibitors will be displayed in a circuit that
promotes discovery and a mix of styles.

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