European Union injects €16 million into Liberian budget

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Today the European Union paid a grant of EUR 16 million (USD 18 million) to the Government of Liberia. This is the second payment under the EU’s budget support programme after a first payment of EUR 29.2 million (USD 33 million) in July 2015. Together, the first and second payment amount to nearly 10% of the 2015/2016 budget.

Disbursement of the second payment comes after the Government of Liberia met agreed conditions in the area of improved public financial management and some sector specific targets relating to justice and security. The EU will disburse the money directly into the treasury account of the Government to support the budget of the Republic of Liberia. Funding under the budget support programme has been increased, reflecting the EU’s commitment to support Liberia in its post-Ebola recovery efforts and in meeting new challenges such as the costs linked to UNMIL drawdown and the reduction in Government revenues due to the fall in commodity exports.

Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, Head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, said “The EU gives this 16 million Euro expecting that the Government will use it to provide Liberians with the vital public services they deserve and it has committed to provide: health, education, justice and security. I encourage the Government to continue improving the management of public finances and fight against corruption. With UNMIL drawdown approaching I applaud the recent adoption of the Police Act and the measures taken by the Government to ensure citizens’ security throughout the country. I encourage Government and the Judiciary to continue their efforts to improve access to justice, in particular through magistrates’ courts and to intensify efforts to tackle sexual and gender based violence.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to Liberia.

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on events on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea

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The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by reports of fighting on 12 and 13 June on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The Secretary-General discussed the issue in his meeting in Brussels today with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, while the Deputy Secretary-General called the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea. They urged both Governments to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from any act or statement that could exacerbate the situation. They also called on both Governments to resolve their differences through peaceful means, including by ensuring the full implementation of the peace agreement they signed in 2000. The United Nations remains available to assist the two countries in this endeavour.

New York, 15 June 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier welcomes UN Security Council resolution on Libya

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (15 June) on the adoption of Resolution 2292 by the United Nations Security Council:

I very much welcome the fact that the Security Council proved its ability to act and adopted important measures last night aimed at de-escalating the conflict in Libya. The resolution enables the international community to prevent arms smuggling to Libya more effectively on the high seas off the coast of Libya. Russia’s constructive conduct also shows that it is in all of our interests to take an effective stand against the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Real progress has been made in recent weeks. The Government of National Accord is becoming more capable of taking action. At the same time, it has been possible to liberate areas from ISIS and to attack the terrorists in Sirte, which has been their most important stronghold to date. It is important to now build on this and to convince those who continue to reject the peace agreement and the Government of National Accord.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Germany – Federal Foreign Office.

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier welcomes UN Security Council resolution on Libya

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (15 June) on the adoption of Resolution 2292 by the United Nations Security Council:

I very much welcome the fact that the Security Council proved its ability to act and adopted important measures last night aimed at de-escalating the conflict in Libya. The resolution enables the international community to prevent arms smuggling to Libya more effectively on the high seas off the coast of Libya. Russia’s constructive conduct also shows that it is in all of our interests to take an effective stand against the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Real progress has been made in recent weeks. The Government of National Accord is becoming more capable of taking action. At the same time, it has been possible to liberate areas from ISIS and to attack the terrorists in Sirte, which has been their most important stronghold to date. It is important to now build on this and to convince those who continue to reject the peace agreement and the Government of National Accord.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Germany – Federal Foreign Office.

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier welcomes UN Security Council resolution on Libya

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (15 June) on the adoption of Resolution 2292 by the United Nations Security Council:

I very much welcome the fact that the Security Council proved its ability to act and adopted important measures last night aimed at de-escalating the conflict in Libya. The resolution enables the international community to prevent arms smuggling to Libya more effectively on the high seas off the coast of Libya. Russia’s constructive conduct also shows that it is in all of our interests to take an effective stand against the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Real progress has been made in recent weeks. The Government of National Accord is becoming more capable of taking action. At the same time, it has been possible to liberate areas from ISIS and to attack the terrorists in Sirte, which has been their most important stronghold to date. It is important to now build on this and to convince those who continue to reject the peace agreement and the Government of National Accord.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Germany – Federal Foreign Office.

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Facebook launches new products to offer increased support to prevent suicide and self-harm

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Today we’re updating the resources we offer to people around the world who may be experiencing self-injury or suicidal thoughts, as well as the support we offer to their concerned friends and family members.

Developed in collaboration with mental health organizations and with the input from people who have personal experience with self-injury and suicide, these tools first launched in the US with the help of Forefront, Lifeline, and Save.org (http://Save.org).

Today, we are rolling them out around the world in collaboration with local partners and in all languages Facebook (www.Facebook.com) is available in.

Now, with the help of these new tools, if someone posts something on Facebook that makes you concerned about their well-being, you can reach out to them directly — and you also can also report the post to us. We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in. They prioritize the most serious reports like self-injury.

And, as of today, the resources we send to the person who posted something concerning will include an expanded set of options. People can now choose to reach out to a friend, contact a helpline, or see tips.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, it is important to call local emergency services right away. You can also visit our Help Centre for information about how to support yourself or a friend: https://www.Facebook.com/help/594991777257121/.

You can view this video, created by Save.org and Lifeline titled “From Reporting to Supporting: Using Facebook to Support Someone in Suicidal Crisis” – https://Vimeo.com/160565004.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Facebook.

Source:: Facebook launches new products to offer increased support to prevent suicide and self-harm

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New Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea presents credentials to the Director-General of UNOG

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Lazaro Ekua Avomo, the new Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, today presented his credentials to Michael Møller, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Prior to his appointment to Geneva, Mr. Ekua Avomo had been serving as Counsellor at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Brasilia, Brazil from 2013 to 2015. He served at the Embassy in Brasilia from 2005 to 2010 as Third Secretary, and then as Second Secretary from 2010 to 2013.

After joining the diplomatic service of Equatorial Guinea in 1998, Mr. Ekua Avomo was in charge of African Affairs at the General Direction for External Policies and Treaties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and la Francophonie of Equatorial Guinea. He served at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Lagos, Nigeria in 2000 as Administrative Attaché, then moved to the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Libreville, Gabon the next year, also as Administrative Attaché.

Mr. Ekua Avomo was born on 20 February 1966 in Mokom-Esangui. He has a degree in law from Renmin University in Beijing, China. He also attended courses in international relations at the Diplomatic School in Madrid. He is married with six children.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations (UN).

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New Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea presents credentials to the Director-General of UNOG

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Lazaro Ekua Avomo, the new Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, today presented his credentials to Michael Møller, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Prior to his appointment to Geneva, Mr. Ekua Avomo had been serving as Counsellor at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Brasilia, Brazil from 2013 to 2015. He served at the Embassy in Brasilia from 2005 to 2010 as Third Secretary, and then as Second Secretary from 2010 to 2013.

After joining the diplomatic service of Equatorial Guinea in 1998, Mr. Ekua Avomo was in charge of African Affairs at the General Direction for External Policies and Treaties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and la Francophonie of Equatorial Guinea. He served at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Lagos, Nigeria in 2000 as Administrative Attaché, then moved to the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Libreville, Gabon the next year, also as Administrative Attaché.

Mr. Ekua Avomo was born on 20 February 1966 in Mokom-Esangui. He has a degree in law from Renmin University in Beijing, China. He also attended courses in international relations at the Diplomatic School in Madrid. He is married with six children.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations (UN).

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New Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea presents credentials to the Director-General of UNOG

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Lazaro Ekua Avomo, the new Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, today presented his credentials to Michael Møller, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Prior to his appointment to Geneva, Mr. Ekua Avomo had been serving as Counsellor at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Brasilia, Brazil from 2013 to 2015. He served at the Embassy in Brasilia from 2005 to 2010 as Third Secretary, and then as Second Secretary from 2010 to 2013.

After joining the diplomatic service of Equatorial Guinea in 1998, Mr. Ekua Avomo was in charge of African Affairs at the General Direction for External Policies and Treaties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and la Francophonie of Equatorial Guinea. He served at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Lagos, Nigeria in 2000 as Administrative Attaché, then moved to the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Libreville, Gabon the next year, also as Administrative Attaché.

Mr. Ekua Avomo was born on 20 February 1966 in Mokom-Esangui. He has a degree in law from Renmin University in Beijing, China. He also attended courses in international relations at the Diplomatic School in Madrid. He is married with six children.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations (UN).

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African media editors commit to play their part in development of the continent through objective reporting and analysis of the African Union’s work through agenda 2063

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A major two day meeting of African editors, managing editors, media owners, representatives of journalists’ unions and African media organisations has concluded in the Ghanaian capital Accra, with concrete agreements on how the media can use its agenda setting role to tell the story of Africa to the continent and internationally.

Bringing together over 30 top level African media personalities from all five regions of the continent, the forum from 11 to 12 June was organised and sponsored by the State of the Union (SOTU) and Oxfam, with support from the African Media Initiative (AMI) and the African Union Commission. The selection of senior level participants was therefore meant to enable the meeting not only to discuss, but also to make decisions on the way forward in communicating about developments on the African continent.

The forum provided opportunity for frank interaction between the AU and the media, with a combination of information sharing, discussions, brainstorming and planning. To support the discussions, the AUC delegation distributed copies of the African Union handbook and the first ten year implementation plan of Agenda 2063 as key resources. Media took the opportunity to highlight the challenges they face in reporting on the African Union’s activities and to suggest ways of improvement. However, throughout the debates, all the participants underscored their total commitment to playing their part in the development of the continent through objective reporting and analysis of the African Union’s work through Agenda 2063.

Ambassador Jean Mfasoni- Special Advisor to the AUC Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, made a presentation on Understanding the African Union, taking the editors through the aspirations and major expected outcomes of Africa’s Agenda 2063, as well as key successes that have been achieved under the Agenda to date. Examples were drawn from the areas of peace, stability, good governance, democracy and human rights; agriculture, natural resource management and food security; inclusive economic development and industrialization; health, education and employment; resource mobilization; a people’s African Union; and institutional capacities and relations with regional economic communities, AU organs and partners. Participants welcomed the information, saying that it had shed light on some issues they had not been aware of before.

“Our media needs to reflect the true Africa as it is, in an accountable and transparent manner, with its positive achievements and negative aspects to be corrected in order to reach better levels of performance for the benefit of all African peoples”, said Ambassador Mfasoni, adding “your sustained efforts can greatly facilitate public awareness of the Africa we want, around its seven aspirations”.

Ms Osai Ojigho, SOTU coordinator explained that her organisation is committed to working with the AU Commission to popularise the work of the African Union and the impact it is making on the continent. “SOTU is pushing African voices in support of the AU”, she noted. Explaining why SOTU decided to fund the editor’s forum, she said, “We want to bring the AU closer to the people” and we need dialogue to see how best we can do it together”. Ms Ojigho presented an analysis of the status of ratification and domestication of key instruments of the African Union, adding that SOTU is engaged in lobbying for the ratification of all AU instruments continent wide as they had been adopted by Heads of State and Government to advance Africa’s development.

Mr Eric Chinje of the African Media initiative announced the impending launch of an information exchange platform, which would greatly benefit attempts to collate and share information coming from different media houses for more effective distribution to the African continent. He urged media to feel a sense of commitment to the continent, and play their part in achieving the goals of the AU, while at the same time urging the African Union to fully recognise the place and role of the media. He particularly pointed to the responsibility of the gathered editors, saying the outcomes of the meeting should be more concrete and practical than those of previous meetings. He presented an analysis on media coverage of AU summits, and led a discussion on areas where the media felt more support was required.

Mrs Wynne Musabayana, the AUC’s Deputy Head of Communication and Information presented a technical paper on the spaces available to the media to interact with the AU. These include a media center, interviews and press conferences, an agency service, publications, website, social media, live streaming, multi-media, and branding. She provided information on the main communication entry points, giving contact details of officers responsible for each function; from the office of the Chairperson to the general Commission. She also took the participants through planned activities to enhance the work of the media such as the proposed AU media awards, improved functions on the website, and proposed the formation of an editors’ database. The ensuing debate shed light on the media’s work processes and requirements. She highlighted the necessity for a long term, substantive relationship with key African media editors- one that has clear strategies and an action plan so as to effectively tell the story of Africa. She also informed participants of the upcoming editors’ forum to be held in Kigali, Rwanda on the side lines of the summit of the African Union, using it as an example of the Commission’s commitment to work with and through the media.

Ms Marceline Nyambala of the Association of Kenya Media Women took the meeting through the topic ”News sources; What makes news and what does not- the role of media in making the news”. After the discussions, the editors agreed that “everything that happens at the AU is newsworthy”. It all depends on how it is packaged.

Ms Sophie Mokoena of the South African Broadcasting Corporation presented a summary of the first day’s proceedings, emphasising the need for practical and serious efforts at telling the African narrative. She highlighted the need for leaders across the continent to avail themselves to the media in order to project the continent correctly. “Give us the story and we will provide the platform to communicate with audiences”, she said.

Ms Jane Godia – Editor of the African Women and Child Features Services discussed “Media’s role in showcasing women leaders across the continent”- a topic that led to positive pronouncements on the need to not only profile high flying women, but also to shed light on those performing critical functions in lower positions as well as on supporting the girl child to have equal status and opportunities in life.

Mr Emmanuel Bensah of the Africa in Focus Show led a session on “African civil society organisations and the media; effective use of media and managing relations”, while Mr Victor Nyambok spoke about SOTU’s “My African Union” campaign- an effort by the organisation to promote the African Union.

The meeting came away with what it identified as concrete proposals that are expected to lead to more robust reporting on the AU. Its outcomes will also be useful in improving the Commission’s communications as well as feed into the Commission’s future engagements with media.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia

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Today the Secretary-General met with H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The Secretary-General expressed his concern about the recent reports of heavy fighting on the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, urging the continued application of restraint and a peaceful resolution through political means.

The Secretary-General expressed gratitude for the continued bravery of the Ethiopian troops of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and highlighted the critical importance of staying committed to AMISOM’s efforts, particularly ahead of the 2016 federal elections. The Secretary-General also emphasised the importance of encouraging the sustained implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan.

Brussels, 15 June 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia

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Today the Secretary-General met with H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The Secretary-General expressed his concern about the recent reports of heavy fighting on the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, urging the continued application of restraint and a peaceful resolution through political means.

The Secretary-General expressed gratitude for the continued bravery of the Ethiopian troops of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and highlighted the critical importance of staying committed to AMISOM’s efforts, particularly ahead of the 2016 federal elections. The Secretary-General also emphasised the importance of encouraging the sustained implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan.

Brussels, 15 June 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia

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