French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on July 8 called for the release of Malian opposition leader Soumaila Cisse (pictured), who has been held hostage by suspected Islamist militants since March.
“France expresses its outrage over Mr Soumaila Cisse’s situation. He is the opposition leader, he was candidate in the presidential election and he was taken hostage three months ago and we are strongly calling for his release,” Le Drian told the National Assembly when asked about Cisse.
Cisse and several members of his delegation were ambushed by unidentified gunmen in March on the campaign trail in the northern region of Timbuktu. His bodyguard was killed and two others wounded, Cisse’s Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) said at the time.
Militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State stage frequent attacks on civilian and military targets in the area, but there was no claim of responsibility and no request for ransom has been received.
France, the former colonial ruler, has troops in Mali to counter the jihadist threat.
Cisse, 70, is Mali’s leading opposition figure and was finance minister from 1993 to 2000. He lost the 2013 and 2018 elections to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Mali’s government has said the military is trying to find the hostages. Mali has been in political turmoil since the disputed election in March.
“We have expressed out support to Switzerland, mediating in the crisis, and we would like to promote a political dialogue which will be accepted by all stakeholders” the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, reflecting upon the latest episode of violence in Cameroon where the mayor of Mamfe, the youngest the country, was assassinated recently.
European diplomacy has taken note of the violence episode in the south-west of the Cameroon, where Mayor of Mamfe was killed, one more act reflecting profound crisis which has been ongoing for some years, effecting the country. The EU has been calling the government and the separatists to do their utmost to put an an end to the down spiral of violence and engage into constructive inclusive dialog, considering interests of all stakeholders.
The EU has been continuously expressing concerns about violations of human rights that are effecting the population.
Via the EU delegation in Cameroon the European diplomacy is engaged in a regular political dialogue with the authorities and the stakeholders as “civil society and religious leaders to encourage them to come up with the peaceful solution to the peaceful solution to the crisis” the spokesperson of the EU diplomacy added.
This week the European Commission has announced €68 million in humanitarian assistance for vulnerable communities in Sudan and South Sudan.
The funding comes as millions of people across both countries are in need of assistance, with the conflict in South Sudan triggering an influx of refugees into neighbouring Sudan.
“The EU is stepping up its support as many people in Sudan and South Sudan face massive humanitarian needs. Our aid will provide essential supplies such as food and healthcare and allow our partners to continue their life saving work on the ground. Above all, it is crucial that humanitarian workers can deliver aid safely so they can help those most in need. Aid workers are not a target” – said Commissioner or Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
In South Sudan, €45 million will primarily target internally displaced persons and host communities, providing emergency food assistance, health, nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation as well as protection from gender based violence. Funding will also support measures to protect aid workers.
In Sudan, €23 million will ensure protection of displaced communities, treatment of undernutrition in the most affected areas, as well as food assistance and improved access to basic services such as health, shelter, water and sanitation.
To date, the Commission has mobilised more than €412 million in humanitarian aid for South Sudan since fighting erupted in December 2013. Since 2011, the EU has provided almost €450 million in humanitarian aid in Sudan for those affected by conflict, natural disasters, food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.
The UN donor conference in Geneva, raised half a billion dollars to ease what it calls a major humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In response DRC government has refused to attend the event, alleging that the UN has exaggerated the scale of the problem.
Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, described the ongoing crisis in DRC as one of the world’s ‘largest humanitarian crises”.
UN officials said they hoped DR Congo’s diplomats would change their minds and participate, underlining that nowadays there are more than three million people in need, more than two million acutely malnourished children, and 4.5 million people displaced from their homes.
Cape Town’s impending Day Zero is likely to have a severe knock-on effect across the entire national economy, widely affecting a number of sectors, and resulting in a possible credit rating downgrade for South Africa.
Speaking to the Citizens newspaper, economist Mike Schussler said that the water crisis is several times worse than load shedding, as not having access to water is relatively permanent compared to rolling blackouts.
This could lead to a number of businesses and industries looking at semigrating so that they can continue business operations in the country, he said.
Depending on how long the drought lasts, he believes that major industries such as IT, transport, agriculture as well as exports will all be significantly impacted as water scarcity limits businesses and causes Capetonians to look for greener pastures.
The EU Council will address the humanitarian situation in Africa, Yemen and Syria. Development ministers are expected to express their concerns over deteriorating humanitarian crises and the risk on famine in several African countries, including Nigeria, South Sudan and Somalia.
Following the EU-ACP Council of ministers on 4-5 May, development ministers will discuss the future relations between the EU and the ACP countries after the Cotonou Agreement expires in February 2020. The basis for the discussions is a joint communication of November 2016 from the European Commission and the High
Joint doorstep by Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU
Neven MIMICA, charged with International Co-operation development
Amina J.MOHAMMED, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General