Category Archives: Politics

France troops withdrawal from Mali

Brussels 17.02.2022 Ahead of the EU-Africa Union Summit President Macron announces French troops are withdrawing from Mali and will be stationed in other parts of the African region.
France and its allies in the long-term anti-jihadist operation in Mali have announced a “coordinated withdrawal” of their forces. A joint statement cited “multiple obstructions” by the country’s ruling “military junta”. (Image above: illustration).

Announcing the move during a Thursday news conference in Paris, Macron accused Mali’s ruling military junta of neglecting the fight against Islamic extremists and said it was logical for France to withdraw since its role is not to replace a sovereign state on the battlefield.

“Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself,” the French leader said.
France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The Barkhane anti-terrorist force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Macron said the French withdrawal would be done “in an orderly manner” in coordination with the Malian military. France will start by closing military bases in the north of Mali, and the withdrawal will take between four or six months, he said.

Mali: EU five individual sanctions

Brussels 04.02.2022 Mali: EU adopts targeted sanctions against five individuals: Malick Diaw, Ismaël Wagué, Choguel Maïga, Ibrahim Ikassa Maïga, Adama Ben Diarra, known as Camarade Ben Le Cerveau.

The Council decided today to impose restrictive measures on five individuals in view of the situation in Mali, following its decision of 13 December 2021 and recent developments in the country.

These individuals, which include prominent members of the Malian Transition Government, are responsible for actions that “obstruct and undermine” the successful completion of Mali’s political transition, the document underlines. The names are published in the EU Official Journal: Malick Diaw, a key member of Colonel Assimi Goïta’s inner circle; Colonel-Major Ismaël Wagué, a member of inner circle; Prime Minister since June 2021, Choguel Maïga, who led the Transition Government; Ibrahim Ikassa Maïga member of the strategic committee of M5-RFP; and Adama Ben Diarra, known as Camarade Ben Le Cerveau, is one of the young leaders of the M5-RFP.

The five designated people are subject to a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territories, and an asset freeze. Moreover, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them, either directly or indirectly.

The EU continues to stand with the people of the Sahel and reaffirms its full commitment to strict compliance with the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law in Mali.

On 24 and 25 May 2021, the European Council adopted conclusions in which it strongly condemned the coup d’état which took place in Mali on 24 May 2021, and stated that the EU was ready to consider targeted restrictive measures. On 29 June the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2584 (2021), in which it also condemned the coup and called on all Malian stakeholders to facilitate a full political transition and handover of power to elected civilian authorities within the 18-month transition period. It also called on Mali’s transitional government to hold free and fair presidential and legislative elections.

On 7 November, ECOWAS deplored the lack of progress made in the preparations for the elections, decided to impose sanctions with immediate effect, and called on international partners to endorse and support the implementation of the sanctions.

On 13 December, the Council set up an autonomous framework for sanctions against those responsible for threatening the peace, security or stability of Mali, or for obstructing the implementation of its political transition.

On 8 January 2022, Mali’s Transition Authorities submitted to the ECOWAS a new calendar scheduling the conduct of the presidential elections for the end of December 2025, thus setting the duration of the transition for a total of five and a half years, contrary to the agreement reached with ECOWAS on 15 September 2020 and the commitment in the Transition Charter. In light of that, on 9 January 2022, ECOWAS decided to impose additional economic sanctions.

Libya: Gaddafi son bid for presidency

Brussels 14.11.2021 The son and heir of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi announced Sunday, November 14, his candidacy for the country’s presidential election next month, Libya’s election agency said.

Seif al-Islam submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabah, the agency said in a statement.

Gadhafi’s son was captured by fighters late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising toppled Gadhafi after more than 40 years in power. Moammar Gadhafi was later killed under suspicious circumstances, while attempting to flee NATO operations in Libya sky.

“The death of Moammar Gaddafi, on October 20, in Sirte raises one of the questions which has to be clarified. There are serious suspicions about it being in fact a war crime” said Luis Moreno-Campo, the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to Le Figaro newpaper on 16 December 2011.

Seif al-Islam (49) was released in June 2017 after more than five years in detention. Gadhafi’s son is one of the most prominent figures expected to run for president — a list that also includes eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar (78), Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah (63) and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh (77).

Photographs distributed on social media showed Gadhafi in traditional brown robe and turban, and with a grey beard and glasses, signing documents at the registration centre in the southern town of Sebha.

São Tomé and Principe elections

Brussels 07.08.2021 “The European Union welcomes the successful conduct of the second round of the presidential elections held in São Tomé and Principe and wishes to congratulate the President-elect, Mr. Carlos Vila Nova. We will continue with him and his government the excellent bilateral cooperation started with his predecessors for the benefit of relations between the EU and São Tomé and Príncipe and our peoples”.

“The electoral observation mission led by the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States noted the peaceful and calm climate in which the ballot took place, despite the postponement and latent tensions following the results of the first tower. We welcome this free and competitive electoral process which demonstrates the solidity of the democratic institutions and processes of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe”.

ZAMBIA: EU congratulates Hakainde Hichilema

Brussels 16.08.2021 The European Union welcomes the announcement of results by the Electoral Commission of Zambia and congratulates President-elect Hakainde Hichilema.

We look forward to working with the new President and his government, as well as with the newly elected members of the National Assembly, to strengthen our long and productive partnership with Zambia.

As a longstanding supporter of Zambia’s democratic process, the European Union commends voters who clearly demonstrated their commitment to democracy, participating in large numbers despite the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The example set by those candidates who made timely statements of concession is also very welcome.

The EU Election Observation Mission’s preliminary assessment found that, despite a number of shortcomings during the campaign, the election day itself was largely calm and the electoral process was technically well managed. The EU Electoral Observation Mission remains in the country completing its work and finalising recommendations, on which we look forward to working closely with Zambian stakeholders.

Zuma in prison in KwaZulu-Natal

South Africa former President Jacob Zuma has handed himself in to police to begin serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court.

The high profile convict was admitted to Estcourt Correctional Centre in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, July 7.

Police had warned that they were prepared to arrest him if he did not hand himself in by midnight.

Zuma, 79, was handed the jail term last week after he failed to attend a corruption inquiry.

The sentencing sparked an unprecedented legal whirlwind in South Africa, which has never experienced a former president jailed before.

Zuma had initially refused to hand himself in, but in a short statement on Wednesday, the Jacob Zuma Foundation said he had “decided to comply”.

His daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, later wrote on Twitter that her father was “en route [to the jail] and he is still in high spirits”.

Ethiopia voting in key elections

Brussels 21.06.2021 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (pictured) is facing his first real test at the ballot in what is Ethiopia’s first multi-party election in 16 years, albeit one riven with conflict, jailed opposition figures and parts of the country unable to vote.

Abiy said he expected the poll to be peaceful, tweeting ahead of the vote that it would be Ethiopia’s “first attempt at free and fair elections.” But some Ethiopians and political analysts disagreed with the Prime minister.

Abiy was appointed, not elected, but vowed to hold the most credible elections Ethiopia had ever seen to secure a mandate for his reform agenda.

The ruling coalition that preceded him claimed staggering majorities in the two previous elections, which observers said fell far short of being free and fair.

The poll was postponed from August 2020 to June 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of Abiy’s opponents declared him illegitimate when his term expired in October.

The election was postponed the second time to June 21 because of logistical setbacks, including delays in voter registration and a lack of electoral officials.

The war in Tigray, and ethnic unrest elsewhere, is expected to make voting impossible in large parts of the diverse country of 110 million.

The atmosphere was peaceful at one Addis Ababa polling station visited by CNN on Monday, June 21, morning. Several Ethiopians waiting patiently in line said they were voting because they hoped it would help move the country in a more democratic direction.

The European Union has long withdrawn its election observation mission to Ethiopia, citing the government’s uncooperative stance in fulfilling “standard requirements” relating to security and the independence of the observer group.

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.

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.

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