Tag Archives: Togo

Gulf of Guinea pirate attacks

Brussels 26.04.2021 Two successive attacks on commercial vessels have just taken place in the Gulf of Guinea.
On Friday (April 23), a container ship was attacked 130 nautical miles northwest of the island of Sao Tome (1 ° 27 North and 4 ° 38 East). The pirates were able to board the Contship New, which was en route from Port Owendo in Gabon to Lomé, Togo.

A few hours later, Saturday (April 24), at 2:23 UTC, another attack took place in the same area (1 ° 52 North and 3 ° 17 East). The ship was secured “taken care of and escorted”, we are assured at Gulf of Guinea HQ in Brest (MDAT-GOG).

The Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half (43%) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021, according to the latest figures from the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

IMB’s latest global piracy report records 38 incidents since the start of 2021 – compared with 47 incidents during the same period last year. In the first three months of 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 33 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon, and one vessel hijacked.

Despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for Q1 2021, violence against crew is on the rise in comparison to previous years. Since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew in Q1 2020. A crew member was also killed in Q1 2021. .

EU aims at post-Cotonou

Brussels 15.04.2021 Today’s initialling of the new Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS, formerly known as the ACP Group of States) by the chief negotiators, International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, and Togo’s Foreign Minister Robert Dussey, marks the formal conclusion of the negotiations of the Post Cotonou Agreement, setting the political, economic and sectorial cooperation framework for the next twenty years.

“This new and comprehensive partnership with the largest group of partner countries is a major political achievement and marks a turning point. In tune with the new international realities and challenges, the Agreement is expected to be game-changing in strengthening the EU’s bilateral relations with each individual OACP State and their respective regions, positioning the OACPS-EU partnership as an international force to advance common ambitions on the global stage” Commissioner for International Partnerships and EU chief negotiator, Jutta Urpilainen, said.

Professor Robert Dussey, Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese Abroad, Chairman of the Central Negotiating Group and Chief Negotiator of the OACPS, said at the end of the formal conclusion of the negotiations: “The new agreement embodies the ambitions of both Parties to renew the terms of their cooperation and to reposition their partnership around new objectives in a world that has changed profoundly and is constant transformation. The negotiation process was by no means a process without challenges, but I welcome the final outcome and congratulate all the actors whose work has led to an agreement that includes a common core and three regional protocols. By taking into account the concerns and expectations of the OACPS states, the new agreement constitutes a solid basis for further reinforcing the already strong relationship with the EU. Together we will work to address global challenges and we will do this in close cooperation with other partners on the world stage.”

Enhanced political cooperation at international level

The Agreement, that will succeed the Cotonou Agreement once both sides complete their internal procedures for signature and conclusion, sets the scene for alliance-building and more coordinated actions on the world stage where the group’s impact can be significant to tackle some of the most acute global challenges. Together, the EU and the members of the OACPS represent over 1.5 billion people and more than half of the seats at the United Nations.

The new Agreement substantially modernises the cooperation and extends the scope and scale of the EU and OACPS’ ambitions to better address current and future challenges. Partners have raised their commitments in priority areas such as: human rights, democracy and governance, peace and security, human development which encompasses health, education and gender equality, as well as environmental sustainability, climate change, sustainable development and growth, and migration and mobility. The Agreement also includes a strong new regional focus and governance structure, tailored to each region’s needs, a first in over forty years of collaboration.

The signature, provisional application, and conclusion of the Agreement will require the approval by the Council of the European Union, based on proposals from the European Commission. These proposals, together with the negotiated text translated into all EU languages, will be transmitted to the Council in the coming weeks.

The Council will decide on the conclusion only after having received the European Parliament’s consent, as indicated in Article 218 (6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The signature of the Agreement is expected in the second half of 2021. For its entry into force, the parties will have to complete their respective internal procedures.

Togo ruling dynasty wins

In light of all the centralised results based on the tallies obtained, the candidate of the Union for the Republic (UNIR), Mr Gnassingbé Essozimna Faure, is provisionally declared president-elect of the Togolese republic,” said Tchambakou Ayassor, the president of the National Independent Electoral Commission, after having announced results for the country’s 46 constituencies.

Faure Gnassingbé secured more than 72% of the vote in the first round of the presidential vote, 14% more than for the 2015 election, with turnout at more than 76%, compared to 61% in 2015. Togo’s electoral commission declared presidential election results within 24 hours after the ballot stations were closed.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Agbéyomé Kodjo won around 18% of the ballots and Jean-Pierre Fabre, leader of the opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) party, came in third with just over 5%, according to the electoral commission. The election results have been shared with Togo’s Constitutional Court which has six days to formally declare definitive results.

We see that Faure Gnassingbé has had a big breakthrough in areas that in days gone by were difficult, and in other areas it was a true plebiscite,” said Gilbert Bawara, the minister of civil service and Gnassingbé supporter.

The announced results had already been contested with civil society denouncing ballot box stuffing and the reversal of results. Opposition leader Kodjo pointed to “much fraud” even before the electoral commission announced provisional results. And the opposition leader told a press conference in Lomé that he was undoubtedly the genuine winner.

Across the nation voters have largely voted for me,” said Kodjo. “With regards to the results we’ve compiled by way of the tallies in our possession, we have won this presidential election of 22 February 2020 in the first round, with a result oscillating between 57% and 61%. At this very minute, I’m president of the republic democratically elected and I commit myself to form an inclusive government in the coming days,” he added.

Kodjo also said he “congratulates Faure Gnassingbé on becoming the first living former president of the republic in history”. Togo was previously ruled by Gnassingbé Eyadema, Faure’s father, who stayed in power for 38 years until last breath. The opposition leader invited the president-elect to transfer power in the spirit of “renewed patriotic fervour” and in a peaceful manner.

Kodjo also called on the international community to “support the Togolese people in their fight for a calm and peaceful change in power”, he encouraged the “defence and security forces to maintain their republican neutrality and not give in to being exploited”. He also said the incumbent “must take account of the gravity of the situation and take his place in history by accepting his defeat”.