Category Archives: West Africa

Liberia “new era” after elections

The EU sends its congratulations to George Weah for his victory in the Presidential elections in Liberia as announced by the National Elections Commission.

“All political leaders showed responsibility in accepting swiftly the outcome of the elections. The professionalism of the Liberian Institutions, in particular the National Elections Commission and the Liberian National Police, was key,” – says the text of the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson.

“The high and peaceful participation of Liberian people contributed to the success of the electoral process. These elections open a new era after twelve years of successful leadership by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.”

“The EU Election Observation Mission, headed by Chief Observer Maria Arena, observed the elections in close cooperation with national and international actors. It began its work in Liberia since September 2017, observed the full process of the elections and will soon issue its final report. The report will include recommendations for the strengthening of Liberia’s future electoral processes. The important role of ECOWAS and UNMIL during the elections are positive expressions of the role of regional and international organisations.”

“The recent presidential executive order will allow a peaceful transition process from the current government to the new one. The EU will remain an important and reliable partner of Liberia and is ready to continue working with the new Government on national issues, as well as on regional and international challenges.”

Millions stolen in Ebola epidemic

The Red Cross has confirmed that more than USD 6 million of aid money was lost to fraud and corruption during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Auditors found overpriced supplies, salaries for non-existent aid workers and fake customs bills.

The disease, which raged between 2014 and 2016, claimed at least 10,000 lives. It required a massive humanitarian operation costing hundreds of millions of dollars to bring it under control. As Ebola spread across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the Red Cross Federation in Geneva was dispersing cash donations to the national Red Cross societies in each of those countries – altogether a sum of about USD100 million.

An investigation by Red Cross auditors has revealed that in Liberia USD 2.7 million disappeared in fraudulently overpriced supplies, or in salaries for non-existent aid workers. In Sierra Leone, Red Cross staff apparently colluded with local bank workers to skim off over USD 2 million while in Guinea, where investigations are ongoing, around USD 1million disappeared in fake customs bills.

The Red Cross told that it is deeply sorry for the losses. The organisation adds that has introduced stricter financial rules, and promised to hold any Red Cross staff involved to account. The Red Cross is the world’s best-known humanitarian organisation, and this revelation will be damaging, she adds.

L’UE réitère soutien à la MINUSMA

La MINUSMA a été une fois de plus frappée par le terrorisme au nord du Mali. En conséquence plusieurs casques bleus ont perdu la vie ou ont été blessés. L’Union européenne déplore cet acte qui vise à empêcher la paix et la stabilité du Mali. Ses auteurs doivent être arrêtés et répondre devant la justice.

L’Union européenne présente ses condoléances aux familles des victimes et souhaite un prompt rétablissement aux blessés. Nous réitérons notre soutien à la MINUSMA ainsi que notre plein engagement à soutenir les efforts du Mali et de la communauté internationale en faveur de la paix, la sécurité et le développement du pays et de la région du Sahel.

 

EU calls Cameroon to act with restraint

Tensions in North-Western and South-Western Cameroon have risen over recent weeks, with a risk of further escalation.

“All the stakeholders need to act responsibly and with restraint, abiding by the rule of law, and to abstain from any acts of violence” –  says a statement of the spokesperson of the EU External Action Service on the situation in Western Cameroon.

The EU encourages the Cameroonian authorities to pursue their efforts to bring about sustainable solutions in response to the concerns of the Anglophone citizens.

Only an open and inclusive dialogue can lead to a solution which is in the interest of all Cameroonians while respecting the unity and integrity of the country.

 

MEPs to observe elections in Liberia

In response to an invitation by the Liberian authorities, the European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Liberia to observe the general elections scheduled for 10 October. This is the fourth time that the European Union is observing general elections in Liberia reflecting the EU’s long-term commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has appointed Ms. Maria Arena (Belgian, Socialists and Democrats, pictured) Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observation mission.

“Liberia has succeeded in establishing a functioning democracy after two civil wars. These elections are key in the democratic history of the country” Mogherini said. ” The EU’s Electoral Observation Mission reflects our common resolve for credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country. I am confident the Electoral Observation Mission led by Chief Observer Ms. Arena will make an important contribution to the electoral process”.

“It is a great honour to have been appointed Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission in Liberia, a task that I accept with a great sense of responsibility. These elections are an important step in the consolidation of peace and the strengthening of the democratic institutions in the country. The EU EOM stands ready to accompany Liberia in this process,” – The Chief Observer, Ms. Arena, declared.

The EOM Core Team of 10 EU analysts arrived in Monrovia on 1st September. They will stay in the country until the completion of the elections and the finalisation of a comprehensive assessment of the electoral process, including recommendations for future elections. On 14 September 20 long-term observers were deployed to different regions of the country; they will be joined by an additional 34 short-term observers around election day.

A number of Liberia-based diplomats from EU Member States will reinforce the mission on Election Day. The EU EOM looks forward to cooperate with other international observation missions.

Gabon’ dangers of human rights abuses

“One year after the heavily contested presidential elections in Gabon, the situation has reached a stalemate, with no prospect of a political solution to the country’s divisions and to the crisis” – said the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini, addressing September plenary of the European Parliament.

“It is quite clear to us that the new restrictive and repressive measures imposed on the opposition escalate the political and social tensions. In a moment when tempers are running high, also because of the downward economic trend, this is a very dangerous path to follow” – Mogherini continued.

“We expect all parties to refrain from any statement or action that may fuel further tension. Gabonese law guarantees freedom of expression, assembly, movement and access to media for all the citizens of the country. This means that no one should be subject to arbitrary and legally unjustified arrests and restrictions.”

“…Truth must be established and those responsible for any violations must be brought to justice. The session of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances on Gabon was an opportunity for the government to take more seriously the numerous and well documented allegations of human rights abuses.”

 

L’UE à propos de la trêve au Mali

 

La signature hier d’un trêve, après deux mois de violents affrontements entre la Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA) et la Plateforme, constitue une avancée importante pour rétablir la confiance mutuelle entre les parties signataires de l’Accord pour la Paix et la Réconciliation au Mali.

Dans ce contexte, le retour hier du gouverneur de Kidal est un pas en avant vers le retour de l’Etat à Kidal. L’Union Européenne  salue le rôle joué par la MINUSMA,  l’Algérie et le gouvernement malien pour arriver à cet accord.

Les engagements pris par la CMA et la Plateforme doivent se traduire au plus vite dans une cessation définitive des hostilités permettant un accès humanitaire soutenu et la relance des services sociaux de base par le pouvoirs publics dans les régions du nord.

L’Union européenne réaffirme sa ferme volonté de soutenir le processus de paix afin que le Mali et l’ensemble de la sous-région puissent bénéficier d’une paix durable.  Le respect intégral des engagements pris dans le cadre de l’Accord d’Alger reste le seul moyen de garantir la paix, la réconciliation nationale et un développement durable et inclusif au Mali.

 

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