Category Archives: NEWS

Mali: france ends Barkhane operation

Brussels 10.06.2021 At a press conference, Emmanuel Macron announced this Thursday, June 10, afternoon, June 10, the end of the anti-jihadist military operation Barkhane in the Sahel, at least in its current form.(Image: illustration)

Reports citing military and diplomatic sources had indicated that an “adjustment” in the French presence would depend on the involvement of other European countries in the Takuba Task Force fighting armed groups in the Sahel alongside the Malian and Nigerien armies. Those forces have ramped up in recent months.

At the February summit, the leaders of the G5 countries had warned Macron against the dangers of a rapid pullout. Since then, the veteran leader of Chad and close French ally, Idriss Deby Itno, has been killed, while Mali has suffered a second coup that has badly strained relations with Paris.

Speaking of a “profound transformation”, the President of the Republic evoked “the end of Operation Barkhane as an external operation to allow an operation of support, support and cooperation to the armies of the countries of the region. who wish ”. The modalities of this new international cooperation will be worked out at a coalition gathering by the end of June.

“The lasting presence in the framework of France’s foreign operations cannot substitute for the return of the state and state services to political stability and the choice of sovereign states,” the president finally clarified.

“At the end of consultations (..) we will initiate a profound transformation of our military presence in the Sahel”, he said during a press conference, announcing the “end of Operation Barkhane as a ‘foreign operation’ and the implementation of ‘an international alliance bringing together the states of the region’.

The “time has come” to initiate “a profound transformation of our military presence in the Sahel”, declared the head of state during a press conference at the Elysee Palace.

Believing that France’s role had never been to replace African states, Emmanuel Macron indicated that discussions would take place in the coming weeks to set the “new framework” for intervention in the Sahel.

The “transformation” of Operation Barkhane will include the closure of French army bases and the priority given to the fight against the jihadists by the special forces.

The fight against terrorism will be carried out “with special forces structured around (operation) Takuba with obviously a strong French component – with several hundred more soldiers – and African, European and international forces”, which “will have vocation to make interventions strictly in the fight against terrorism, ”the French president said during a press conference.

These announcements are part of the political will already outlined by Emmanuel Macron to reduce the French military presence in the area in the medium term. Paris is deploying some 5,100 soldiers against jihadists affiliated with the Daesh group and Al-Qaeda, a major support for the weakened armies of the Sahel states who are struggling to fight them alone.

In mid-February, during a summit in N’Djamena with G5 Sahel partners (Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania), the French president announced that Paris did not intend to reduce “in the immediate” Barkhane workforce. However, he had outlined an exit strategy, in favor of European reinforcements ready to join them, while France has been fighting massively the jihadists in the Sahel since early 2013.

Malian commitments
The situation has become more complicated in recent weeks, on the one hand with the brutal death of President Idriss Déby in Chad, and especially the second coup d’etat in eight months in Mali, the central country of Operation Barkhane.

In this regard, Emmanuel Macron also deplored that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) “recognized” Colonel Assimi Goïta as president of the transition in Mali, after a second putsch, including seeing a “bad case law” for Africa and a “mistake”.

EU focus on Tigray situation

Brussels 10.06.2021 “On the eve of the G7, the European Commission and the USAID join forces to open eyes of the world on the unacceptable situation in Tigray. To the people of Tigray we say: You are not alone. To the parties involved in the conflict we say: The world is watching. You will be held accountable” Josep Borrell, the EU top diplomat wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

An analysis by United Nations agencies and aid groups estimates that about 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s conflict-torn Tigray region are in famine conditions, according to an internal U.N.

The UN report also points to grave abuses of human rights committed by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops in Tigray, including the looting of Saint Mary’s Hospital and Aksum University Referral Hospital.

The report says the Eritrean military has committed “deliberate attacks against civilians and summary executions, indiscriminate attacks, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary detention, destruction and looting of civilian property and displacement and abduction of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers”.

The report makes recommendations to the Eritrean government that includes providing information on the presence of its troops in Tigray and answering the allegations of human rights abuses.

It asks Asmara “to ensure that protective measures are taken in areas under its effective territorial control to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Eritrean troops present in Tigray”.

The fighting in Tigray began eight months ago when Ethiopian and Eritrean troops alongside allied militias began an offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The conflict has displaced about two million civilians and left 5.2 million in urgent need, the US said.

Human rights organisations including Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International have documented incidents of sexual violence, extrajudicial killings and massacres in Tigray.

David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Programme, said on Tuesday that “time is running out” and called on all parties to allow free humanitarian access to the region to avert a catastrophe.

CAR: France suspends Military cooperation

Paris suspended its military cooperation and budgetary aid to the Central African government, terming the Central African Republic (CAR) “complicit” in an anti-French campaign. (Image: illustration)

The French military ministry said that it considered the Central African state as “complicit” in a Russian-led anti-French campaign.

“On several occasions, the Central African authorities have made commitments that they have not kept, both politically towards the opposition and in terms of their behaviour
towards France, which is the target of a massive disinformation campaign in CAR,” Paris said.

“The Russians are not to blame, but the Central Africans are at best accomplices in this campaign,” it added.

In April, five French military aid workers who were posted to the Central African Defence Ministry were recalled to Paris. The military training provided to the Central African Armed Forces (Faca) by troops stationed in Gabon has also been suspended, the ministry stated, confirming information from the French news website Mediapart.

France, a former colonial power, continues to contribute around 100 soldiers to the European mission EUTM-RCA, which mobilizes nearly 200 soldiers to train the FACA.

Ten of the soldiers do participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), which has 12,000 blue helmets in the region.

When prompted by AFP on the budgetary restrictions imposed, the French Foreign Ministry however did not reveal any figure.

France, which intervened from 2013 to 2016 through Operation Sangaris to stop the violence, handed over some 1,400 assault rifles to the Faca in December 2018 after obtaining an exemption to the UN embargo.

A few months earlier, Russia had made a remarkable entry into this former French “pré carré” by delivering arms to the Faca at the beginning of 2018 and by installing a contingent of military instructors.

Last December, reportedly Russia urgently dispatched hundreds of paramilitaries to the aid of President Faustin Archange Touadéra’s army, threatened by a rebellion.

Numerous witnesses and NGOs claim that these paramilitaries are fighters from the Russian private security group Wagner, which Moscow continues to deny.

BANGUI: AU denies press reports allegations

Brussels 09.06.2021 The representative of the African Union denied information that a joint delegation of the AU, the European Union and the Economic Community of Central African Countries (ECCAS) came to the Central African Republic to persuade the head of state to start negotiations with the militants.

The Central African Republic is preparing for a nationwide dialogue, in which political and public leaders of the country will take part. In preparation for the event, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra held a series of consultations with representatives of various sectors of society.

At the same time, the head of the CAR absolutely unequivocally stated that negotiations with those who raised their hand against the civilian population are impossible. H.E. President Touadera’s position met with the approval of regular citizens, but the West has repeatedly sounded calls to establish communication with the leaders of criminal gangs.

Dialogue with such a person is simply impossible, as stated by the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bancol Adoye, underlining that the AU calls on the media and politicians to refrain from propaganda of incitement to hatred and disinformation.

“We did not even mention former President Bozize and did not agree on him with Touadera. We called on all parties concerned to strongly condemn those who took up arms to seize state power. Our task is to promote peace in the CAR,” said the representative of the African Union.

Thus, the joint delegation of the EU, AU and ECCAS regards Jeune Afrique’s article as disinformation published in the interests of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC). The CPC was formed by six rebel groups on December 15, 2020, with the aim to disrupt the country’s elections and oust President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

EU-Tunisia talks strengthen ties

Brussels 07.06.2021 Visiting Brussels on 4 June 2021, His Excellency Mr Kais Saied, the President of the Republic of Tunisia, held talks with His Excellency Mr Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, Her Excellency Ms Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission and His Excellency Mr David Maria Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament. These meetings provided an opportunity to underline the depth of historical ties between the European Union and Tunisia dating back almost half a century in a spirit of constantly evolving strategic partnership.

This new phase of bilateral relations is based on shared values and a mutual commitment to strengthening political, economic and cultural ties between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

The talks, which took place in a very cordial atmosphere, focused on young people, education, culture and economic relations, which have been some of the key areas of cooperation between Tunisia and Europe in the last few years. Delivering on the priorities announced in the European Communication on the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood and confirmed by the Council conclusions of April 2021 was also at the heart of these discussions. The two sides invoked the socio-economic impact of the crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social reforms needed to revive economic activity and growth.

Both sides welcomed the celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. Since then, Tunisia has made progress in consolidating democracy, including by holding municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections and by passing laws which guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms, demonstrating that democracy has taken root in Tunisian society.

On the subject of cooperation, the Tunisian President thanked the European Union for its consistent support since 2011, noting the European contribution of more than EUR 3 billion to Tunisia’s socio-economic recovery. For its part, the EU reiterated its long-term commitment to Tunisia and its determination to support the country’s efforts to consolidate its democratic institutions and promote a green, competitive and inclusive economy, in particular by supporting SMEs and promoting foreign investment.

The two sides also discussed the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis and the economic reforms that should be undertaken to create the right conditions for a sustained recovery of growth. The European Union, one of the largest contributors to the international COVAX mechanism, has undertaken to continue supporting the efforts made by Africa, including Tunisia, to combat the pandemic by facilitating fair access to vaccines and assisting its economic recovery, particularly in the worst affected sectors, such as tourism, services and air transport.

The visit confirmed the commitment of both sides to deepening their strategic and privileged partnership. The two sides discussed the priorities that will shape bilateral cooperation in the years to come. The following broad guidelines were outlined in the course of the discussions:

The cooperation started in 2016 under the Youth Partnership has already yielded significant results. More than 5 000 Tunisian students and academics have benefited from the Erasmus+ programme and participated in exchanges in all fields with European universities. The European Union has also supported the modernisation of higher education in Tunisia through 50 capacity-building projects under Erasmus+ since 2015.
Tunisia is also one of the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean which has benefited most from its participation in European research programmes since 1 January 2016 and is the only country of the Southern Neighbourhood and Africa associated with the European «Horizon 2020» Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Tunisian organisations benefited 87 times from 68 grants funded under «Horizon 2020», receiving EUR 11.2 million of direct EU contribution enabling very advanced cooperation with European research centres. The two sides welcomed the success of this venture and discussed at some length the prospects for its future development. Tunisia has formally expressed an interest in joining the new «Horizon Europe» Framework Programme in order to continue this partnership in the field of research and innovation.
In addition, recognising the importance of investing in young people for the future of our countries, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further intensifying cooperation in the field of education, vocational training and higher education, including through the Erasmus+ programme, and to working together to promote the cultural and cultural heritage sector. Within that context, and in the course of this visit, Tunisia submitted a letter of intent with a view to continued participation in the «Creative Europe» Framework Programme relating to the cultural and creative sectors.
Both sides agreed to work together on mobility and all aspects of migration, including legal migration, in accordance with the legal migration and mobility remit of the EU and its Member States. They also had a frank discussion on irregular migration, bearing in mind the root causes and taking their respective interests into account. It was agreed to continue joint work on all aspects of migration and its governance, including asylum, border management, the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings.
The two sides agreed to intensify cooperation in the fields of security and justice and expressed a wish to make rapid progress in the development of police cooperation. They also agreed to strengthen cooperation on preventing radicalisation, counter-terrorism and combating money laundering.
Both sides welcomed the feelers that had been put out for an agreement on extending the coverage of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), which illustrated the success of bilateral cooperation in the space sector. This initiative also has a significant impact on the harmonisation of air transport safety on both sides of the Mediterranean and will benefit the tourism sector too.
Both parties also stressed the importance of continuing to implement the partnership within the framework of the consultation mechanisms set up by the EU-Tunisia association agreement, including expert discussions on the work of the subcommittees. The EU and Tunisia welcomed the fact that various thematic meetings had been held under the association agreement in 2019 and 2020 in spite of the health constraints. These meetings had allowed fruitful exchanges to take place on the challenges facing both sides and ensured the continuation of dialogue between the Tunisian and European administrations.
Lastly, the European and Tunisian sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, including the Middle East peace process. Both sides welcomed the ceasefire which should end the violence, expressing a desire to continue working with international partners to relaunch the political process and reiterating their strong commitment to the two-state solution.
In the light of Tunisia’s participation in the UN Security Council in 2021, both sides agreed to intensify political and diplomatic contacts in order to contribute together to the international community’s commitment to multilateralism and UN principles. In that spirit, the EU and Tunisia reiterated their support for the call of 30 March 2021 for an international treaty on pandemic prevention and preparedness.
The EU and Tunisia underlined their joint determination to implement the initiatives referred to above and to continue fruitful exchanges at all levels, in this case technical and political, which are the key to strengthening their privileged partnership.

EU reacts on Burkina-Faso terrorist attack

Brussels 05.06.2021 “Burkina Faso has just been the victim of one of the most grave terrorist attacks in recent years. The EU stands more than ever alongside the country and the G5 Sahel SE to face terrorism and extremism together” the EU Council president Charles Michel wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

Armed men have killed around 100 people in an attack on a village in the north of Burkina Faso, President Roch Kabore said.

During the overnight raid on Solhan, homes and the market were also burned, Reuters news agency reports quoting a government statement.

No group has said it was behind the violence, but Islamist attacks are increasingly common in the Sahel country, especially in regions bordering Niger and Mali.

President Kabore has declared three days of national mourning saying, in a tweet, that “we must stand united against the forces of evil”.

The security forces are currently looking for the perpetrators, he added.

EU condemns Ituri massacres

Brussels 03.06.2021 “The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the massacres of civilians committed in recent days in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular in the Provinces of Ituri and North Kivu. The EU reiterates its concern over the continuing activities of armed groups accused of war crimes and serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in these provinces.

The perpetrators of these acts must be brought to justice by the authorities.

“The European Union renews its commitment to respect for international humanitarian law by all stakeholders. It invites the Congolese authorities and the security forces engaged to strengthen the protection of civilian populations.

“The European Union reaffirms its support for all those who are engaged as close as possible to the populations to face the consequences of the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano and to come to the aid of the populations displaced either because of the persistence of insecurity or because of the natural disasters. The safety of humanitarian workers and their free access to disaster areas are essential conditions for ensuring the protection and support of affected populations.

“Efforts to tackle the causes of insecurity and instability in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be accelerated and translated into action”.

W.Sahara leader returns to Algeria

Brussels 02.06.2021 The leader of the Western Sahara independence movement, Brahim Ghali, returned to Algeria on Wednesday, Juin 2, after spending more than a month in hospital in Spain – a stay which triggered a diplomatic row between Spain and Morocco. (Image above: illustration)

“He arrived safe and sound,” commented the trip Jalil Mohamed, the Polisario Front’s spokesman in Spain.

Algerian state television later showed President Abdelmadjid Tebboune visiting Ghali in hospital, but gave no details of their discussion between them.

Rabat has not yet commented on Ghali’s departure from Spain but had previously informed that it would not alone resolve the dispute.

The Algeria-backed Polisario Front is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara, which was a Spanish colony until the mid-1970s and nowadays is claimed by Morocco.

Ghali flew to Algeria from Pamplona in northern Spain at 1:40 a.m. local time on Wednesday, Juin 2, on an officially chartered private plane, the spokesman for Polisario Front said.

Ghali, who was suffering from COVID-19 complications, had been admitted to a Spanish hospital in April on humanitarian grounds, the Madrid government said.

The Polisario leader left Spain several hours after appearing remotely in a hearing with Spanish high court on a war crimes case. Following the hearing, judges did not impose any restrictions on the Polisario leader and allowed him to leave the country.

Spain’s decision to admit Ghali to a hospital in the northern Spanish city of Logrono, presenting Algerian documents and without informing Rabat, the move visibly upset Morocco.

Moroccan officials suggested that last month’s sudden influx of migrants to Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta after security forces appeared to loosen border controls was a form of retaliation.

Algerian support for the Polisario Front independence movement is a also source of anger in Morocco.

Mali: Colonel Goïta declared President

Brussels 29.05.2021 The Malian Constitutional Court declared on Friday, May 28, Colonel Assimi Goïta head of state and President of the transition supposed to bring civilians back to power, indicates a court ruling, completing the second coup led by the officer and the military in nine months. The judgment stipulates that the vice-president of the transition, Colonel Goïta, “exercises the functions, attributes and prerogatives of president of the transition to lead the transition process to its end”, and that he will carry “the title of president of the transition, head of state ”.

The judgment stipulates that the vice-president of the transition, Colonel Goïta, “exercises the functions, attributes and prerogatives of president of the transition to lead the transition process to its conclusion”, and that he will carry “the title of president of the transition, head of state ”.
The Constitutional Court comes to this after noting the “vacancy of the presidency” following the resignation of the one who was until then the president of the transition, Bah Ndaw.
“Due to the vacancy of the presidency of the transition, it should be said that the vice-president of the transition assumes the prerogatives, attributes and functions of president of the transition, head of state”, she writes. .

Colonel Goïta, a strong man in Mali since the coup d’état he led on August 18, 2020 with a group of officers, had President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane arrested on Monday, May 24, civil guarantors for the transition opened after the putsch.

Assimi Goïta announced on Tuesday, May 25, that they had dismissed them from their positions. Their dismissal was then presented as a resignation, without it being known whether it was voluntary.

Mali: colonel Goita leads again

Brussels 25.05.2021 HOME Mali vice president confirms takeover after president arrested. Mali’s interim vice president, Colonel Assimi Goita, said on Tuesday, May 25, that he had seized power after the transitional president and prime minister failed to consult him about the formation of a new government. He ensured that the elections would be held next year as planned.

President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were arrested and taken to a military base outside the capital on Monday evening, May 24, prompting swift condemnation from international powers, some of which called it an “attempted coup”.

https://twitter.com/samirasawlani/status/1397175977122357251?s=20

The two men were in charge of a transitional government created after a military coup in August 18 that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. They were tasked with overseeing a return to democratic elections next year.

Assimi Goita, who led the August coup, orchestrated the detentions after two fellow coup leaders were dropped from their government posts in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

In a statement read by an aide on national television, Goita said elections next year to restore an elected government would go ahead as planned.

“The vice president of the transition saw himself obligated to act to preserve the transitional charter and defend the Republic,” the statement said.

The United Nations, European Union and regional countries have all condemned the military’s actions and demanded the immediate release of the detained leaders.

They have concerns that the situation could exacerbate instability in the West African country, where Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State control large areas of the north and centre and stage frequent attacks on the army and civilians.

A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was expected to visit Mali toady.

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