The EU Foreign affairs Council exchanged views on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Sahel and the role the EU can play as leading partner in the region. The debate has been centred on ways to increase the impact of the EU’s actions supporting security, stability and development. The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell deplored death toll in Sahel region – Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, inderlinging the number of growing number of causalties last year amounting to five thousand people (4,779), among them 1500 soldiers.
The EU commitment to Sahel is considerable and unprecedented: because of the amounts mobilized but, above all, because of the longevity and intensity of the European political and human investment. Since 2014, the EU – Commission and Member States – has mobilized more than € 8 billion to respond to the multiple challenges of the region.
However the EU must do more, differently and better, and be more effective and better understood by the populations, the joint action must be rethought, the European diplomat said. The EU dialogue with our Sahelian partners must be more frank, more in-depth and be based on mutual trust in order to break the terrorist dialectic which seeks to divide all those who want peace in the Sahel.
The Council established a European Union CSDP civilian advisory mission in the Central African Republic (EUAM RCA). The mission will be launched by the Council no later than in the spring of 2020. Accordingly, a core team will make the necessary preparations to allow the mission to reach its initial operating capability.
The aim of the mission is to support the reform of the internal security forces to enable the Central African Republic (CAR) authorities to mitigate the current security challenges in the country. EU experts will support the Ministry of the Interior and the internal security forces, the police and the gendarmerie, with the aim of helping in their deployment throughout the country.
In a phased, scalable and modular approach, EUAM RCA will provide advice to the CAR authorities at the strategic level to support the sustainable transformation of CAR internal security forces into a coherent and accountable security provider operating under national ownership. The mission will coordinate closely with the military EU Training Mission (EUTM RCA), the UN MINUSCA mission and the international community.
The mission will be established in accordance with the crisis management concept (CMC) that was approved by the Council on 21 November 2019 and the subsequent operational planning documents. The CAR will be the third country to receive support in parallel from both military and civilian CSDP missions after Mali and Somalia.
“The EU supports the efforts the G5 Sahel countries in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and any other threat to security and peace” says the text of conclusions adopted by the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
“The EU wants to reinforce its regional approach in the Sahel with the aim of supporting cross-border cooperation, regional cooperation structures, and, in this context, of enhancing national capacities of the G5 Sahel countries. Stability in the Sahel region is also key for European security” EU Foreign Ministers Council, February 18, 2019.
Demonstrations demanding President Omar al-Bashir to resign erupted in city of Port Sudan (pictured), where protesters condemned alleged repression by the government and deteriorating economic conditions, Turkish News Agency Anadolu reports.
Security forces dispersed hundreds of demonstrators with teargas, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency.
In December, the port city saw similar protests that were also dispersed by security forces.
Protests began in Sudan on December 19 in 14 of the country’s 18 states, including capital Khartoum.
The city has handles the majority of Sudan international trade, and has an oil refinery.
Hundreds of prisoners escaped from Tripoli jail using the “window of opportunity” opened due to destabilization caused by ongoing fighting between rival armed groups in the Libyan capital. An official said as the United Nations called for the warring parties to meet on September 4.
The inmates forced open the doors of the Ain Zara prison and guards were unable to stop them, the official said, confirming a judiciary police statement posted on social media, mentioning escape of 400 convicted.
According to Reuters news agency the official asked not to get identified and could not provide more details.
The prison is located in southern Tripoli, an area hit for one week by heavy fighting between armed groups.
Killed and wounded people by security forces in eastern Ethiopia at the weekend were reported by senior regional official.
“The victims were all ethnic Oromos. The perpetrators were members of a paramilitary force,” said Negeri Lencho, spokesman for the Oromiya state administration.
The area has been plagued by instability. At present 37 killed and 44 wounded are reported by Addis media, all of them from Oromia region.
The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini met with Somalia‘s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire in Brussels.
The diplomats discussed the situation in Somalia, and the current political, economic and security reforms undertaken by the Government. They stressed the European Union‘s critical role as the main partner in support of the country’s transition. They noted that, while high challenges remained, some encouraging progress had been made and should be maintained.
Mogherini highlighted the link between the implementation of Somalia‘s transition plan for security, the implementation of economic reforms and the political roadmap towards elections in 2020. She welcomed the commitment of the government of Somalia to progressively assume the lead role in providing security for its people and to implement reforms in line with the National Security Architecture agreed in April 2017. In this context Mogherini expressed the EU’s full support and commitment to the Transition Plan as the central piece of security reform in Somalia.
The EU diplomat confirmed the readiness to continue supporting the country, through an integrated approach using all available policies and instruments, including Common Security and Defence Policy missions and development cooperation funds. She also looked forward to the upcoming Somalia partnership platform.
This meeting came ahead of the Somalia Security High Level Meeting which takes place this morning and gathers ministers and senior officials from Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States of Somalia, the EU, United Nations, the African Union, AMISOM and its Troop Contributing Countries as well as other international partners, in support of the Somali Transition Plan.
On January 24th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Democratic Republic of Congo informed by note verbale addressed to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, about the decision of the Congolese government to close the Schengen House in Kinshasa. In the current uncertainty following this announcement and the various contacts with the authorities, the Schengen House had to suspend its activities.
The Schengen House is an instrument for implementing the EU’s common visa policy aimed at facilitating the processing of visa applications for States Parties to the Schengen Treaty.
The 18 states participating in the consular system of Maison Schengen Kinshasa consider it important to preserve this form of local consular cooperation to ensure the continuity and quality of visa services for Congolese citizens. As such, they remain open to dialogue.
With regard to the decision to suspend the activities of the Belgian Cooperation Agency, the EU underlines the importance of the complementarity of its actions and those of the Member States in favor of the development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its population. Restrictions on one of the Member States could undermine the collective effort for the benefit of the Congolese.