Progress report of the African Union High-Level Panel for Egypt

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — I. INTRODUCTION

The African Union (AU) has, over the past three years, given sustained attention to the situation in Egypt. While significant progress was made following the 25 January 2011 Revolution, notably with the election, in June 2012, of the President of the Republic, Egypt continued to face serious challenges, marked by the growing frustration of many Egyptians over the management of the country, continuing economic difficulties, a deteriorating security situation, and political and social polarization. The period that followed the May 2013 Ordinary Sessions of the AU policy organ was marked by an escalation of the crisis, leading to the overthrow, on 3 July 2013, of the Government of President Mohamed Morsi, the suspension of the Constitution and the appointment and swearing-in of a caretaker Head of State.

The present report covers the efforts deployed by the AU in relation with the situation in Egypt, including the measures taken following the 384th meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC), held on 5 July 2013, as well as a brief update on the latest developments in Egypt. The report concludes with recommendations on the way forward.

II. AU REACTION TO THE EVENTS OF 3 JULY 2013

At its 384th meeting referred to above, the PSC considered the situation in Egypt. In the communiqué adopted at the end of its deliberations, the PSC recalled the relevant AU instruments on unconstitutional changes of Government, notably the Lomé Declaration of July 2000 and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance of January 2007, which provide for the automatic implementation of specific measures whenever an unconstitutional change of Government occurs, and reiterated AU’s condemnation and rejection of any illegal seizure of power. The PSC stated that the overthrow of the democratically-elected President, Mohamed Morsi, did not conform to the relevant provisions of the Egyptian Constitution and, therefore, fell under the definition of an unconstitutional change of Government as provided for in the relevant AU instruments. Accordingly, the PSC decided to suspend the participation of Egypt in the AU’s activities until the restoration of constitutional order.

The PSC called on all Egyptian stakeholders to embrace the spirit of dialogue and mutual accommodation and to refrain from any acts of violence and retribution. It encouraged them to persevere on the path of national reconciliation, in order to contribute to a smooth preparation of elections leading to a return to constitutional order. The PSC urged the new Egyptian authorities to engage, without delay, in inclusive consultations towards the adoption of a consensual timeframe for the organization of free, fair and transparent elections. The PSC emphasized the solidarity of the AU with the people of Egypt and its commitment to assist this process in whatever way possible and to support long-term efforts to address the structural problems facing Egypt. The PSC welcomed the plan of the Chairperson of the Commission to dispatch a team of high-level personalities to Egypt to interact with the ruling authorities and other Egyptian stakeholders. It appealed to AU partners, both bilateral and multilateral, to lend their full support to AU’s efforts and to work towards a coordinated approach on the situation. The PSC requested the Chairperson of the Commission to establish, under AU’s leadership, an International Consultative Forum that would bring together Egypt and relevant international stakeholders to facilitate coordinated action in support of a transition leading to the restoration of constitutional order, the deepening of the democratic process, and the mobilization of economic and financial support commensurate with the needs of Egypt and the challenges facing the country.

III. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AU HIGH-LEVEL PANEL FOR EGYPT

Following the above-mentioned communiqué of the PSC, on 8 July 2013, the Chairperson of the Commission established the AU High-Level Panel for Egypt, consisting of Mr. Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of the Republic of Mali and former Chairperson of the AU Commission, as the Chairperson of the Panel; Mr Festus Gontebanye Mogae, former President of the Republic of Botswana; and Mr Dileita Mohamed Dileita, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Djibouti.

The Panel was mandated to: “Interact with the ruling authorities and other Egyptian stakeholders to establish a constructive political dialogue aimed at national reconciliation, as well as to contribute to their efforts as they work towards a transition that would lead to an early return to constitutional order, preserve the gains of January-February 2011 Revolution and consolidate the democratic process in their country.”

IV. EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO THE COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL AND SUBSEQUENT PSC PRESS STATEMENT

In a note verbale, dated 9 July 2013, to the Commission, the interim authorities of Egypt rejected the communiqué of the PSC, indicating that it was based on a wrong interpretation of the “popular revolution, which unfolded in Egypt on 30 of June 2013.” The authorities also rejected “the proposal to establish an international consultative forum.”

At its 395th meeting held on 13 September 2013, the PSC received a briefing from the High-Level Panel following the first visit it undertook to Egypt from 27 August to 4 September 2013. In the press statement issued on that occasion, the PSC expressed its appreciation to the Egyptian authorities for facilitating the Panel’s visit and its consultations with various Egyptian stakeholders. It also welcomed the steps taken by the High-Level Panel to interact with relevant international stakeholders. The PSC encouraged the Panel to pursue its efforts, while looking forward to a report on the implementation of its mandate. The PSC recalled its earlier communiqué and press statements on the situation in Egypt, stressing, in this respect, the need for all the parties to eschew all forms of violence and uphold the spirit of dialogue, inclusivity and national reconciliation.

Through a note verbale dated 23 September 2013, the Embassy of Egypt in Addis Ababa, conveyed the interim authorities concern about the AU’s approach to the situation, despite its keenness to engage the AU, as well as its unreserved cooperation with the Panel. In particular, the interim authorities regretted that the PSC communiqué of 13 September 2013 ignored a number of basic facts, notably the progress made in implementing the consensual roadmap for the transitional period and failure to condemn the assassination attempt that targeted the Minister of Interior on 5 September 2013. Furthermore, the interim authorities reiterated their rejection of measures and actions to address the situation in Egypt beyond the African context, and its commitment to lay the foundation for a genuine representative democracy without the exclusion of any political actor, provided that all concerned reject violence. While looking forward to African support, the interim authorities stressed that Egypt’s continued suspension from the AU’s activities would negatively affect the Union, as well as the interest of the entire continent.

V. ACTIVITIES OF THE PANEL

Following its establishment, the High-Level Panel held its inaugural meeting in Addis Ababa, on 16 July 2013. The meeting provided the Commission with the opportunity to brief the members of the High-Level Panel on their mandate and to discuss their work program, including a visit to Egypt. The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the modalities of interaction with international partners, notably the League of Arab States, in order to facilitate a coordinated and effective support for an inclusive transition leading to a rapid return to constitutional order.

The Panel intended to travel to Cairo from 17 to 25 July 2013, soon after its inaugural meeting. Accordingly, on 11 July 2013, the Commission sent a note verbale to the Egyptian Embassy in Addis Ababa, informing it of the envisaged visit. In a note verbale, dated 15 July 2013, the Embassy informed the Commission that “prior to the proposed visit of the Panel, the Government of Egypt would like to discuss all issues related to the mandate, aim and methods of work of that proposed Panel.” Subsequently, on 22 July 2013, an Egyptian Presidential Envoy met with the Chairperson of the Commission, as well as with the Commissioner for Peace and Security, at the AU Headquarters, in Addis Ababa. In the meeting with the Chairperson, the Special Envoy conveyed the position of Egypt’s interim authorities and their displeasure about the decision of the PSC suspending Egypt from AU activities until the return of constitutional order. The Envoy also sought clarifications about the terms of reference and the mandate of the High-Level Panel for Egypt. The Chairperson of the Commission provided answers to these questions. At the end of the meeting, the Chairperson and the Special Envoy agreed that the High-Level Panel would travel to Egypt to meet with Egyptian stakeholders and would, subsequently, brief the PSC on its mission. During a meeting with the Commissioner for Peace and Security, the Egyptian Special Envoy submitted the Government’s “Roadmap for the Transitional Period,” and discussed the arrangements and timetable for the visit of the High-Level Panel.

Subsequent to these consultations with the Egyptian authorities, the Panel traveled to Cairo twice, from 27 July to 5 August, and from 28 August to 5 September 2013, respectively. The second visit, in particular, took place in a context marked by the disappointment of the Egyptian interim authorities over the continued suspension of their country’s participation in AU’s activities, as they expected that the Panel would have recommended the lifting of this measure after its first visit. In actual fact, the understanding of the Egyptian authorities, as conveyed by the Foreign Minister at the end of the Panel’s first mission, was that the Panel would only visit once in order to gather the required information and report back to the PSC, to enable this organ to lift the suspension of Egypt.

In the course of its two visits, the Panel interacted with a wide range of Egyptian stakeholders, including interim President Adly Mansour, then Vice-President Mohammed El Baradei, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, Interim Vice-Prime Minister and Defense Minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabil Fahmy, Minister of Justice, Adel Abdel Hamed, and Minister of Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation, Amin El Mahdi. The Panel also met with the Tamarood (rebel) Movement, the April 6 Movement, the National Council for Women, the National Human Rights Council, the Egyptian Council on Foreign Relations, as well as intellectuals, writers and prominent businessmen. In addition, the Panel met with President Mohamed Morsi. The Panel also visited the al-Rabaa Adawiya neighbourhood in Cairo, then the venue of a large protest sit-in by the supporters of President Mohamed Morsi, and met with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood and parties, groupings and personalities associated with it. Furthermore, the Panel met with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil Elaraby. It conferred with African and European Ambassadors accredited to Egypt. It also met with high-level personalities, such as former Foreign Minister and Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Amr Moussa.

The Panel met in Addis Ababa, from 12 to 14 August 2013, to assess the outcomes of its first visit to Egypt and consultations with the various stakeholders, and, on this basis, agreed on the next steps in the discharge of its mandate. The Panel seized the opportunity to meet with the AU Chairperson, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, in order to update him on its activities. The Panel also met with the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Erastus Mwencha, on behalf of the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to discuss the situation in Egypt and related AU efforts. On 14 August 2013, the High-Level Panel provided a briefing on the evolving situation in Egypt to the PSC, which, at the end of its deliberations, adopted a press statement. In the statement, the PSC noted with concern that despite the initiatives taken by Egyptian actors and various members of the international community, the situation on the ground continued to be tense, necessitating, therefore, constructive dialogue between the parties, in order to ensure the long-term stability of Egypt, the cohesion of its people and its prosperity. The PSC strongly condemned the acts of violence that led to the loss of numerous human lives in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt on 14 August 2013, and urged all Egyptian stakeholders, in particular the interim authorities, to exercise utmost restraint. The PSC requested the Panel to undertake, as soon as possible, a new mission to Egypt.

On the eve of its second visit to Egypt, on 27 August 2013, the Panel met with the Chairperson of the Commission, in Addis Ababa. The objective was to provide her with an update on the activities it had undertaken and to exchange views on the visit it was about to carry out.

From 9 to 12 September 2013, and as part of the Panel’s interactions with relevant international stakeholders, two members of the Panel, namely former President Festus G. Mogae and former Prime Minster Dileita Mohamed Dileita, visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they consulted with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. On his part, the Chair of the Panel, former President Alpha Oumar Konare, visited Chad, from 15 to 17 September 2013, where he held consultations with President Idriss Deby Itno, in his capacity as Chair of the Community of the Sahelo-Saharan States (CEN-SAD). From 17 to 19 September 2013, the Chair of the Panel visited Qatar, where he held consultations with the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah. From 5 to 9 October 2013, President Konare and former Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita visited Turkey, where they held consultations with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. From 29 November to 2 December 2013, President Konare visited Paris for consultations with the Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Abdou Diouf. On 27 January 2014, former President Festus Mogae and former Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed met with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, in his capacity as chair of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

The Panel also intended to travel to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for consultations with the relevant authorities in these countries. The Embassy of Kuwait in Addis Ababa informed the Commission that the date that was proposed was not suitable and recommended that the visit take place at a later date. On its part, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, while expressing appreciation for the AU’s efforts, stressed that what was happening in Egypt was an internal matter.

On 20 September 2013, the Panel, through a Commission’s note verbale to the Embassy of Egypt in Addis Ababa, requested that, as a follow-up to its earlier visits to Egypt, former Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita visit Cairo to meet with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthdox Church, as well as the Chairman of the National Human Rights Council. On 2 October 2013, the Egyptian authorities informed the Commission that “it will not be possible for the Government of Egypt to arrange such visits as requested,” and proposed that “the aforementioned personalities be reached by phone.”

On 14 October 2013, the Panel, through a Commission’s note verbale, requested that, in a spirit of transparency and cooperation, its Chairperson be allowed to travel to Cairo in order to brief and update the interim authorities about the visits that the Panel had undertaken to the UAE, Chad, Qatar and Turkey. The visit was also to provide an opportunity for the Chairperson of the Panel to be updated by the authorities on the situation in Egypt and the evolution of their efforts regarding the ongoing transition. On 28 October 2013, the Embassy of Egypt sent a note verbale to the Commission, which, while reiterating Egypt’s appreciation for the Panel’s efforts, invited the later “to brief the Egyptian Embassy in Addis Ababa on its recent activities, and to obtain any further information it deems necessary for its envisaged report via correspondence” with the concerned Egyptian stakeholders.

From 26 to 28 November 2013, the Panel met in Addis Ababa to review the situation in Egypt and determine the additional steps to be taken in pursuit of its mandate. The Panel identified the activities to be undertaken. It also had a meeting with the Chairperson of the Commission, as well as with the Commissioner for Peace and Security. From 16 to 17 January 2014, the Panel met again in Addis Ababa, to review the situation and the report it intended to submit to the PSC.

It should also be noted that, during its stays in Addis Ababa and visits in Cairo, the Panel held consultations with representatives of the international community. These consultations focused on the mandate entrusted to it and related efforts.

VI. INTERACTION WITH THE EGYPTIAN STAKEHOLDERS

The consultations with Egyptian stakeholders during the Panel’s two visits to Cairo were undertaken with the objective of, first, explaining the PSC decision of 5 July 2013; second, elaborating on its mandate and how best it could assist in the early restoration of constitutional order; and, third, listening to the views of its interlocutors, including on the events of 3 July 2013 and the circumstances that led to it, as well as subsequent PSC pronouncements.

Throughout its interactions with the Egyptian stakeholders, the Panel explained that the PSC decision was taken in line with the relevant AU instruments and should not be misconstrued as a punitive measure. It emphasized that the AU had no agenda other than assisting the transition process in Egypt, mindful as it is of the importance of mobilizing African support to help Egypt overcome its challenges and retake its seat in the AU as soon as possible. These points were all the more important given the fact that a number of media outlets in Egypt misrepresented the PSC decision, describing it as inimical to Egypt and driven by other motivations.

Consistent with the relevant PSC decisions, the Panel emphasized the need for all concerned to embrace the spirit of dialogue and mutual accommodation and to refrain from any acts of violence and retribution. It encouraged the Egyptian political actors to persevere on the path of national reconciliation. In this respect, the Panel took note of the adoption by the Egyptian transitional authorities of a Roadmap for the transition.

Between the two visits, a number of developments took place. The most important was the operation initiated, on 14 August 2013, by the security forces to remove the mass sit-ins of Muslim Brotherhood supporters who camped in Rabaa adawiyah and al-Nahda, in Cairo, for the previous six weeks. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands more were injured in this operation. Subsequently, hundreds of members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested. A number of Coptic Christian churches were also burnt in retaliation. While the authorities accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being responsible of these acts, the latter denied these accusations. On the same day, as a protest against actions taken by the authorities in the camps, interim Vice President Mohamed El Baradei, resigned. The interim authorities announced a month-long state of emergency, which was subsequently extended by another two months, and ended on 12 November 2013.

The views of the Egyptian interlocutors that the Panel interacted with can be summarized as follows:

(i) Egyptian Government Officials

The Panel listened to the views of the interim authorities on the suspension of Egypt from participating in AU’s activities, the nature of the 3 July 2013 change of Government, the Roadmap for the transition period and other related issues:

(a) With regard to the event of 3 July 2013 and the subsequent suspension of Egypt, the Government representatives reiterated the views that were earlier communicated to the Commission, regarding the rejection of the PSC decision. They emphasized that the Lomé Declaration cannot and should not apply to the Egyptian case. Indeed, to them what Egypt witnessed on 30 June 2013, culminating in the 3 July 2013 change, was a full-fledged popular revolution. Describing these developments as a military coup is inaccurate and unacceptable. They stated that the first preamble paragraph of the 2012 Egyptian Constitution illustrates clearly the supportive role of the armed forces in the 25 January 2011 Revolution, which, in their view, is exactly similar to the role the latter played in the 30 June 2013 Revolution. In their view, the PSC reactions to both Revolutions were completely different and inconsistent, casting many doubts on the credibility and accuracy of its evaluation system, as well as on the political intentions behind its decisions. They stressed that the armed forces’ involvement emanated from its constitutional obligation to protect the nation and was in line with the people’s demands. They also stated that the armed forces did not seek to assume power in the aftermath of the demonstrations. On the contrary, the Head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court assumed the position of interim President, and took the presidential oath in front of the General Assembly of the Supreme Court as an interim President until the organization of early presidential elections.

(b) The interim authorities further maintained that while Egyptians were trying to consolidate the democratic achievements of the 2011 Revolution, these efforts were subverted by a democratically- elected but authoritarian administration and political party. They stated that President Morsi had taken a series of decisions, which, if subjected to the criteria stipulated in the Lomé Declaration, would clearly indicate that the change that occurred in Egypt was by no means unconstitutional.

(c) Regarding the transition, the interim authorities referred to the Roadmap that would guide the process. This Roadmap revolves around the following elements: issuance of a constitutional declaration; establishment of a panel of 10 experts to propose amendments to the suspended 2012 Constitution; completion of the amendments to the Constitution; revision of the amended Constitution by a 50-member Committee representing all segments of the society; holding of a referendum on the amended Constitution; election of the House of Representatives; and holding of presidential elections. The proposed transition period was to last from 6 to 8 months.

(d) The interim authorities clearly indicated that they viewed the reconciliation process as an internal matter, for which they do not see a specific role for the Panel.

In the course of their interactions and communications with the AU, including the Panel, the interim authorities stated that, despite many calls and initiatives in this regard, the Muslim Brotherhood refused to join the national unity Government and the process to formulate a national consensus on the way forward. They also stated that the Muslim Brotherhood rejected any participation in the Committee entrusted with drafting amendments to the 2012 Constitution, and rejected the Al-Azhar initiative for national reconciliation. The authorities further stated that there are no political detainees and that those members of the Muslim Brotherhood who are detained were facing criminal charges resulting from the use of, or incitement to, violence.

(ii) Interaction with the Muslim Brotherhood

The Panel met twice with the representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood. The first in the Rabaa camp, and the second after their forced removal from Rabaa and Al-Nahda on 14 August 2013. In these meetings, their representatives:

(a) welcomed the PSC decision as principled and necessary. They appealed to the Panel for Egypt’s suspension to remain in effect until the restoration of democracy in the country;

(b) argued that what took place on 3 July 2013 was a coup and, as such, it had undermined democracy as the military overthrew a President who was elected democratically by a majority of the Egyptian people. They also complained against arbitrary arrests and killings of their members, and rejected accusations that they were resorting to violence to further their agenda;

(c) rejected the interim authorities’ Roadmap and the subsequent establishment of the Committee of 50, and refused to join the Government. As a way out of the current crisis, they proposed that President Morsi officially resign and delegate his powers to a consensual Prime Minister, who would organise early elections within 60 days. They informed the Panel that, prior to the 3 July 2013 change of Government, they proposed this idea but the army rejected it; and

(d) stressed that the offer by President Morsi to the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) of ministerial portfolios was rejected, and his calls for dialogue and reconciliation were not taken seriously. They accused former President Mubarak era businessmen, who owned TV channels and newspapers, of waging a continuous and unrelenting smear campaign against President Morsi, and criticized the Judiciary, which dissolved the Lower House of the Parliament and the first Constitution drafting Committee within the House of Representative. They added that Egypt had been governed by the military over the past 60 years, a period characterized, in their view, by authoritarian rule, rigged elections, selective distribution of wealth and widespread corruption. They referred to the existence of a deep state that was opposed to any challenge to its privileges.

As indicated above, the Panel, during its first visit, met with President Morsi at his detention venue. The request made by the Panel to this effect was readily granted by the Egyptian authorities. During the interaction with President Morsi, the members of the Panel sought his views on the management of his year-long presidency and the circumstances that led to his ouster. They also seized the opportunity to stress the need for his supporters to refrain from violence and to constructively engage in the search for a solution to the crisis, particularly in view of the tension then prevailing in Cairo as a result of the mass seat-ins in the capital. While stating that he rejected violence, President Morsi said that he had no ways of communicating with his followers and supporters. President Morsi expected to deepen his interaction with the Panel, which, on its part, intended to use that opportunity to attempt to facilitate a consensus on the way forward. However, it was not possible to have the second meeting. Indeed the Egyptian authorities explained that it would not be possible to arrange for meetings with individuals who are under trial by the Egyptian Judiciary or detained based on decisions issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and this was the case of President Morsi.

(iii) Interactions with other Egyptian Stakeholders

During the Panel’s two visits to Cairo, the Panel interacted with representatives of the 30 June Coalition, including Tamarood, Al-Nour party, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Strong Egypt Party and the Egypt Socialist Party, as well as with Human Rights activists. The Panel was briefed and provided with a background on the evolution of their protest movement. Through a variety of peaceful means, including the use of social media, the members of the Coalition challenged the Mubarak regime in January 2011, and supported the candidacy of President Morsi during the presidential election of 2012. However, according to them, after his election, President Morsi ignored their advice and counsel against unilateral and undemocratic measures that the new regime was taking. The Muslim Brotherhood became the sole power with influence on the President. Starting in November and December 2012, these parties began agitating against President Morsi for ignoring his pledge to govern equally and for all. Moreover, the Coaltion noted that there were illegal and excessive police actions, for which no one was held accountable. But following the 3 July 2013 removal of President Morsi, the views of the coalition became less homogeneous. Their positions can be summarized as follows:

(a) The Al-Nour Party: The Al-Nour party was aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, while President Morsi was in power, although it remained critical of some of the policies of his administration. According to its representatives, in the days leading to the change of 3 July 2013, leaders of Al-Nour met with President Morsi and urged him to: (a) form a coalition government, (b) appoint a Prime Minister outside of the Muslim Brotherhood, (c) appoint a New Attorney General, and (d) initiate reconciliation with the judiciary and the military. But when their advice was rejected by President Morsi, and the military warned that the country was on the verge of a civil war, on 30 June 2013, Al-Nour shared this concern. It joined the military’s call for the creation of a new situation and became part of the movement that helped develop the Roadmap of 3 July 2013. Subsequently, the party became sceptical about the steps that were taken and the overall intentions of the military. Al-Nour argued that, while it was correct to remove the President, suspending the 2012 Constitution and the dissolution of the Shura Council were not necessary. The party also advocated for the establishment of a technocratic Government with proven managerial experience. Soon after, Al-Nour withdrew from the 30 June 2013 Coalition. The party supported the PSC decision suspending Egypt, and requested that the Panel uses it as a mean to press for an inclusive transition and for the Muslim Brotherhood to join the transitional Roadmap.

(b) The April 6 Movement: The April 6 Movement was critical of some of the policies of the transitional authorities even while in the Coalition, and opposed to the crackdown on the members of the Muslim Brotherhood. It condemned transitional authorities’ policies against the independent media and urged that the negative campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood be stopped. It had no representation in the Committee of 50, and argued for the appointment of a consensual Prime Minister as a care-taker executive until the holding of national elections.

(c) The Tamarood Movement: The Tamarood Movement expressed strong support to the Roadmap, and fully justified all measures the interim authorities took against the Muslim Brotherhood following the removal of its sit-ins in Cairo. It also demanded that the Muslim Brotherhood renounce violence officially, apologize for the crimes it committed, pledge to work within the framework of the Roadmap, and declare the sources of its finance, before being allowed to join the political process.

(d) Sheikh of Al-Azhar: The Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayyeb, informed the Panel that he is fully supportive of the Roadmap. He indicated that he exerted efforts to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to join the political process. However, these efforts were rejected by the Muslim Brotherhood as it believed the Sheikh of Al-Azhar was behind the 3 July 2013 change.

(e) The Coptic Orthodox Church: Similarly, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, also expressed support for the Roadmap, which he views as a national plan for the present and future and, as such, should be supported by all. He expressed scepticism about the willingness of the Muslim Brotherhood to join the political process. He stated that the Muslim Brotherhood cannot be part of the Roadmap so long as it continues to use religion for political purposes and resort to violence and terrorism to create divisions within the country. The Pope stressed that religious antagonism in the country increased during the time of President Morsi’s administration, and accused the Muslim Brotherhood to be behind the burning of Christian churches and institutions.

(f) The Egyptian National Human Rights Council: The leadership of the Egyptian National Human Rights Council accused the Muslim Brotherhood of using violence, inviting foreign intervention, and taking its orders and instructions from outside. For these reasons, they felt that the Muslim Brotherhood could not be part of the transition process.

(g) Other Egyptian stakeholders: As indicated above, the Panel met with former Foreign Minister and Arab League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, who was later to serve as Chairman of the Committee of 50, and a number of other former officials associated with the Egyptian Council on Foreign Relations, as well as intellectuals, writers and prominent businessmen. They welcomed the change, expressed support for the Roadmap and stressed the difficulty of integrating the Muslim Brotherhood into the political process for as long as it does not renounce violence publicly and without ambiguity.

VII. CONSULTATIONS WITH INTERNATIONAL STAKEHOLDERS

As indicated earlier, the Panel met with a number of international stakeholders, both in Egypt and outside. During these meetings, the Panel elaborated on its mandate and the AU position on the situation in Egypt. It explained that the AU’s aim was to assist Egypt in the process of ensuring an early return to constitutional order, stressing that the AU did not call for the reinstatement of President Morsi, but rather for an inclusive transition culminating with the holding of free, fair and transparent elections.

During the meeting with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, the latter fully endorsed the Roadmap and explained the difficulty of including the Muslim Brotherhood in the political process unless it renounces violence. He contended that most people in Egypt view the Muslim Brotherhood not as a political party but as an organisation that uses violence to further its political objectives. Popular resentment against the Muslim Brotherhood is such that, in his view, it will be extremely difficult to include them in the political process. During the second meeting with the Panel, the Arab League Secretary-General expressed reluctance at the then envisaged visits of the Panel to a number of countries to exchange views on its efforts, as, in his opinion, doing so would internationalize the crisis in Egypt.

The Panel met with both the African Ambassadors and the representatives of the international partners in Cairo. It also visited a number of countries with a view to explaining the AU’s position and updating its interlocutors on its efforts:

(i) some of the countries visited welcomed the removal of President Morsi, considering the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, and, for this reason, seeing no political role for it in Egypt. They appealed for the lifting of the AU decision suspending Egypt from its activities as an encouragement to the transition process and an expression of support to the efforts of the interim authorities;

(ii) others held different views and stressed the need for an inclusive political process that includes the Muslim Brotherhood. At the same time, they expressed understanding at the position taken by the AU, as it was based on instruments that are binding for all its Member States;

(iii) all interlocutors of the Panel stressed the importance of assisting Egypt, as the stability of the country is critical for the stability of the region as a whole.

VIII. OBSERVATIONS

The Panel expresses its appreciation to the interim Egyptian authorities for facilitating its two visits to Egypt. The Panel endeavored to discharge its mandate in an objective, independent and dispassionate manner, fully aware of the importance of the tasks entrusted to it and the complexity of the situation it is grappling with.

Throughout its work, the Panel was driven by the following considerations:

(a) the importance of Egypt to Africa and that of Africa to Egypt. Egypt’s stability and prosperity and that of the rest of the continent are closely interlinked. Thus, the AU has a particular interest in the early stabilization of the situation in Egypt and resolution of the challenges facing it;

(b) AU’s solidarity with the Egyptian people, whose aspirations for democracy, the rule of law, good governance and the respect for human rights are consistent with the relevant AU instruments;

(c) AU’s determination, in line with its duties and responsibilities towards all its Member States, to promote and foster African solutions within the relevant African institutions; and

(d) the need for the AU to act in a manner consistent with its relevant instruments.

In in relation with this last point, the Panel observes that the position of the interim authorities regarding the 3 July 2013 change of Government, as outlined earlier, is not consistent with Article 153 of the 2012 Constitution that clearly outlines the steps to be taken for the transfer of presidential power. Indeed, the basis for the 5 July 2013 decision of the PSC was premised on this provision of the Constitution that calls for either the Prime Minster or the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the Speaker of the Shura Council, to act in the place of the President in the event that the latter is unable to carry out his duties. In this regard, and in view of the fact that the 2012 Constitution did not allow the Head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court to assume the role of an interim President, the Panel reaffirms the correctness of the PSC decision of 5 July 2013.

The Panel notes that, since its last visit to Egypt, the situation in the country has witnessed important developments. In addition to the eviction of the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood who were occupying some places in Cairo in protest at the overthrow of President Morsi, leading to the death of hundreds of protestors, a number of terrorist attacks have also been registered, notably in Cairo and in the Sinai Peninsula. Among others, mention should be made of the attack perpetrated on 24 December 2013 against a police headquarters in Mansura City, causing the loss of many lives and injuring several other people. These terrorist attacks have intensified over the past few weeks.

On 25 December 2013, the Egyptian interim authorities, which are accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of being behind these attacks, designated the latter as a terrorist group. Earlier on, a decision was made by the authorities to ban a number of charity organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, while President Morsi and a number of leaders and members of his party are being detained and some prosecuted. On its part, the Muslim Brotherhood, which has denied any involvement in terrorist activities, accuses the Government to be engaged in widespread repression against its members and of inciting hatred against them through a propaganda campaign in the media. It has thus, over the past months, continued to stage demonstrations in opposition to the interim authorities. Several activists not affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood have also clashed with security forces and some have been sentenced to jail terms. This situation has led to a further polarization of the Egyptian society, which is not conducive for political dialogue.

It is against this background that the implementation process of the Roadmap is taking place. In this regard, a major step has been the holding of the constitutional referendum on 14 and 15 January 2013. The Panel would like to recall that the Egyptian authorities indicated that its members could have taken part in the observer team that the AU Commission was invited to send to Egypt on the occasion of the referendum. The Panel felt that observing the referendum and the planned subsequent polls does not fall under its mandate. The Constitution was adopted by 98.1%, with a 38.5% voter turnout. On 26 January 2014, interim President Adly Mansour announced that presidential elections would be held prior to parliamentary elections.

The Panel wishes to stress the continued relevance of earlier pronouncements of the PSC on the situation in Egypt. In this respect, the Panel reiterates the need for the Egyptian stakeholders to embrace the spirit of mutual accommodation, dialogue and national reconciliation and to refrain from any act of violence and retribution. Equally important is the total rejection of terrorism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances. In view of the fact that the conditions in which the Constitution was elaborated were challenged by some of the stakeholders, it is critical that the interim authorities find a mechanism that would allow the broadest participation possible in the forthcoming and presidential parliamentary elections.

In the Panel’s view, it is important that the PSC remain actively seized of the situation in Egypt to enable it to assess progress towards the full restoration of constitutional order and take the necessary steps in this regard, in line with the relevant AU instruments. The Panel, on its part, reaffirms its commitment to continue discharging its mandate and readiness to further interact with the Egyptian authorities and other stakeholders. It expresses the hope that, with the forthcoming national elections, the transition process in Egypt will be completed.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Edinburgh Business School Celebrates Success of African Graduates

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On the 8th February, Edinburgh Business School (http://www.ebsglobal.net/africa) will mark the achievements of its long-standing presence in Africa with a celebration event for graduates. The event will see 200 graduates from across the continent gather in Johannesburg. Edinburgh Business School has been offering executive education in Africa since 1990 and currently has 3760 students with a further 2000 alumni from its MBA programme.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/ebs.jpg

The event will also celebrate the first 23 graduates from the African Scholarship programme launched and funded by Edinburgh Business School in 2010. The scholarship scheme is the largest of its kind; offering 250 people in Africa a fully-funded place on the Edinburgh Business School distance learning MBA (Master of Business Administration) programme.

The scholarship programme, which was established in 2010 by Edinburgh Business School, has enabled applicants from across Africa to gain access to advanced management skills and expertise, helping them to effect change in their organisations and communities. The flexibility of the distance learning MBA has also enabled students to continue working while they learn, implementing their new knowledge and skills in the workplace immediately.

Professor Keith Lumsden, Academic Director of Edinburgh Business School, the Graduate School of Business of Heriot-Watt University, comments on the school’s presence in Africa and scholarship scheme:

“Edinburgh Business School has been active in Africa for over 20 years and to celebrate this long standing relationship, we established The Africa Scholarship Programme in 2010. We are very proud to recognise and celebrate all of our graduates today. They emerge equipped with skills that will enhance not only their own lives but also the wider communities around them. All of the people we are recognising at today’s event have worked hard to secure their MBA’s and will no doubt go on to achieve great things”.

Graduating student Simon Peter Kavuma from Uganda comments on the opportunity and the impact the MBA and The African Scholarship Programme has had on his life:

“Receiving the scholarship was a life changing event, and it’s difficult to see how I would have studied for the MBA without it. My MBA studies have led to career progression and possibilities that would have been impossible without it”.

Recently appointed Deputy Chief Finance Office at Citbank Uganda, Simon believes that the MBA was an important factor in securing the new position.

Graça Machel, leading educationalist and wife of the late Nelson Mandela, comments on the scholarship programme:

“Scholarship programmes offer a wonderful opportunity for students from all over Africa to learn, gain and share invaluable technical, managerial and leadership skills, as well as obtain recognised qualifications. These skills are vital in our future leaders. I hope that as the Edinburgh Business School scholars graduate, they will continue to develop leadership which promote the conditions for the full exercise of citizen’s rights

including equity and dignity for all”.

In order to apply for a place on the MBA programme, students must be a national or resident in a sub-Saharan African country, have a university degree and at least two years of full time work experience. You can find out more here http://www.ebsglobal.net/africa

For further details and guidance on how to apply to The African Scholarship Programme please visit http://www.canoncollins.org.uk/edinburghmba.html

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Edinburgh Business School.

Contact Details

For further information about the Edinburgh Business School African Scholarship Programme please contact Emma Cutting or Robert Crosland at Communications Management:

Emma@communicationsmanagement.co.uk 01727 733886

Robert@communicationsmanagement.co.uk 01727 737988

Notes to Editors

• The ‘Celebration of Achievement Awards’ will be held on Saturday 8th February in Johannesburg. The event will be hosted by Professor Keith Lumsden, Academic Director, and Alick Kitchin Business Director of Edinburgh Business School.

• The first African Scholarship Programme graduates are from 6 countries: Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, Mauritius, Kenya and Zambia.

Case studies are available for the following graduates:

Erimon Maundu from Zimbabwe completed the MBA in June 2013 and works as Investigations Specialist at Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

Errol Hove from Zimbabwe completed the MBA in June 2013 and now works as Chief Accountant at Zimasco Private Ltd.

Fazhil Kyeyune Mwesigwa from Uganda completed the MBA in June 2013 and works as Audit Senior Associate at KPMG.

Joseph Isiko from Uganda completed the MBA in June 2013 and was promoted to Manager Audit at KPMG shortly after finishing.

Moses Nsiima from Uganda joined Diamond Trust Bank as Head of Compliance shortly before completing the MBA in March 2013.

Sangwani Mwafulirwa from Malawi completed the MBA in June 2013 and is currently the Director of Media and Public Relations at the Malawi Electoral Commission.

Simon Peter Kavuma from Uganda completed the MBA in December 2012 which helped him secure his current position as Deputy Chief Finance Officer at Citibank Uganda.

Varinka Tandrayen from Mauritius completed the MBA in August 2013 and secured her current position as Manager (Quality Unit, Administration and Enterprise Risk Cluster) at the Financial Services Commission in Mauritius halfway through the programme.

Webster Tembo from Zambia completed the MBA in June 2013 and joined Lafarge Cement PLC as Improvements Engineer midway through the programme.

Willie Ganda from Zimbabwe completed the MBA in December 2012 which enabled him to secure his current position as Director of Research Development and Innovation at the Ministry of Science and Technology Development in Zimbabwe.

Moses Mfune from Zambia completed the MBA in June 2013 which played a significant role in his decision to found customs broking firm Nogza Enterprises.

• Edinburgh Business School, the Graduate School of Business of Heriot-Watt University, launched in Africa in 1990 and now has 3760 active students and 2000 alumni across the continent. For more information see http://www.ebsglobal.net/africa

• In order to eligible for the scholarship you must:

o be a national of and ordinarily resident in a sub-Saharan African country

o be able to say how the MBA will benefit you and your community

o have a first degree from a recognised university or an a professional qualification such as ACCA

o be at least 25 years old and not older than 45 years old at the time of starting the programme

o have at least 2 year’s full-time work experience

o have an operational Internet connection

• For general information about the school and its activities see http://www.ebsglobal.net/

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Report of the Chairperson of the AUC on the 416th PSC meeting on the situation in CAR

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — I. INTRODUCTION

The present report is submitted to Council within the framework of the regular consideration of the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). It covers the period from 19 December 2013 to 20 January 2014, and gives an overview of the major developments that have taken place in the CAR at the political, security and humanitarian levels, as well as an update on the activities of the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA), following the transfer of authority from the Peace Consolidation Mission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in the CAR (MICOPAX), on 19 December 2013.

I. POLITICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS

It should be recalled that, following the unconstitutional change of Government that occurred on 24 March 2013 and pursuant to the efforts of ECCAS, the CAR actors agreed on a transitional period for a maximum of 18 months that would culminate in presidential and legislative elections. On 5 July 2013, the Constitutional Charter for the Transition was adopted, before being promulgated on 18 July 2013. A National Transitional Council (CNT) of 135 members and a Constitutional Council were established on 15 April and 16 August 2013, respectively. Mr. Michel Djiotodia was elected Head of State of the Transition on 13 April 2013 and sworn in on 18 August 2013. Maître Nicolas Tiangaye, who was appointed Prime Minister under the Libreville Agreements of 11 January 2013, retained his post. The elements of a Roadmap for the Transition proposed by the 4th Extraordinary Summit of ECCAS, held in N’Djamena, on 18 April 2013, were accepted by the Transitional Government of National Unity, which, in turn, developed a detailed Roadmap, adopted by the CNT on 7 November 2013.

However, the situation did not improve. At the security level, the abuses against the civilian population, both by ex-Seleka elements and by other armed groups, continued. At the political level, there were several disagreements between the two heads of the Executive branch, who could not provide the necessary impetus to the transition process. Consequently, no significant progress was made in the implementation of the Roadmap for the Transition, including the priority of restoring security, the rule of law and public order in Bangui and the rest of the country. The humanitarian situation deteriorated considerably, especially in the wake of the deadly attacks on 5 December 2013, perpetrated in Bangui by elements belonging to the group known as the anti-Balaka (anti-machettes).

In view of the situation, my Special Representative and Head of MISCA, General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and that of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, ECCAS Mediator and Chairman of its Follow-up Committee on the CAR, in coordination with members of the international community in Bangui, took a number of initiatives to help the CAR stakeholders to overcome their differences and implement the Roadmap for the Transition. Similarly, a joint AU-ECCAS delegation, comprising the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of the Congo and Chad, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of the Congo and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, travelled to Bangui, on 28 December 2013, particularly to stress the need for strong cohesion and effective unity of action among all the stakeholders of the transition.

It is within this context, and given the continuing deterioration of the situation, that the 6th Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of ECCAS was held in N’Djamena, on 9 and 10 January 2014, under the chairmanship of President Idriss Deby Itno. The AU was represented at that meeting by a delegation led by the Commissioner for Peace and Security. In the communiqué issued after their deliberations, the ECCAS Heads of State and Government lamented the passivity of the entire CAR political class and the lack of cohesion, harmony and unity among the authorities of the Transition, stressing that this situation had not enabled the international community to provide the necessary support to find a solution to the crisis. They took note of the resignation of the Head of State and the Prime Minister of the transition, and called upon all the CAR political and social actors to continue their consultations so as to elect, in the shortest possible time, a new Head of State of the transition and form a transitional Government in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitutional Charter for the Transition. In addition, and pursuant to the communiqué of the N’Djamena 6th Extraordinary Summit, the AU and ECCAS, in liaison with the CAR parties and key partners and under the auspices of the Mediator, President Denis Sassou Nguesso, are currently considering the modalities for convening a National Reconciliation Conference.

On 20 January 2014, and following two rounds of vote, Ms. Catherine Samba Panza, Mayor of Bangui, was elected as the Head of State of the Transition, putting an end to the interim ensured by the CNT Chairman, Alexandre Ferdinand Nguendet. She is expected, in the coming days and after broad consultations, to appoint a Prime Minister, who, in turn, will form a new Transitional Government of National Unity. In a communiqué issued the same day, I welcomed this development and urged the CAR actors to give to the new Head of State the necessary support to carry out her mission successfully.

Furthermore, the seven members of the National Elections Authority (ANE), who were appointed by decree on 16 December 2013, were sworn in on 24 December 2013, thus launching the electoral process. The members of the ANE are endeavouring to implement their mandate. The United Nations, particularly the UNDP, has sent experts to assess the level of needs and budgetary estimates for the ANE. Other partners, such as the European Union (EU) and France, have announced their intention to make financial contributions. My Special Representative has indicated MISCA’s readiness to ensure the security of the ANE offices, and the Commission will soon send an electoral expert to support the ANE.

II. SECURITY SITUATION AND DEPLOYMENT OF THE AFISM-CAR

In the recent months, the security situation has been marked by continued abuses by elements of the former Seleka and other armed groups, particularly the anti-Balaka and some elements of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA). In early December 2013, the situation further deteriorated, as a result of the attacks perpetrated in Bangui by elements of the anti-Balaka. The period that followed was characterized by clashes between the anti-Balaka and former Seleka elements and, sometimes, between individuals and families, along community and religious lines. Many crimes were committed. Tens of thousands of people fled their homes to seek refuge in other areas of the city of Bangui considered to be safer, especially the airport area.

Council will recall that, within the framework of their efforts to deal with the security challenges facing the CAR, ECCAS and the AU agreed to increase the strength of MICOPAX and transform it into an African Mission. As a follow-up to those efforts, Council authorized, on 19 July 2013, the deployment of MISCA to contribute notably to the protection of civilians and stabilize the country. On 5 December 2013, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2127 (2013) through which it endorsed the deployment of MISCA for a period of 12 months. As indicated above, the transfer of authority from MICOPAX to MISCA took place on 19 December 2013. Following the consultations that the Heads of State of the region, the AU and international partners held, in the margins of the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa, Council, on 13 December 2013, authorized an increase in MISCA’s strength, which could reach up to 6,000 uniformed personnel. It was within this context that a Burundian battalion of 850 was deployed. At the time of finalizing this report, a Rwandese battalion of 850 was being deployed. Once completed, this deployment will bring the total strength of MISCA to 5,305. The military component is provided by the following countries: Burundi (850), Cameroon (517), Republic of the Congo (864), Gabon (517), Equatorial Guinea (205), Chad (792), and Rwanda (850). The 629 police personnel are provided by Cameroon (320), the Republic of the Congo (129), Chad (34), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (145) and Gabon (1). MISCA also has a Joint Operations Centre (OCC) and a civilian component. The Commission intends, once the DRC formally confirms its readiness to contribute additional uniformed personnel, to dispatch a mission to that country to agree on the nature and modalities of such a contribution, within the limits of the strength authorized by Council and on the basis of needs identified on the ground.

A number of partners, particularly France, the US and the EU, are already providing financial and/or logistical support to MISCA. Japan recently pledged to support MISCA. The UN plans to deploy specialized personnel to serve in MISCA’s Mission Headquarters. In order to mobilize a more predicable support, the Commission, with the assistance of the United Nations, will organize in Addis Ababa, on 1 February 2014, a Donors’ Conference for MISCA. All Member States and about 60 international partners have been invited to attend the Conference.

Shortly after the transfer of authority, MISCA adopted new sectorisation plans to achieve a satisfactory networking of both Bangui and the rest of Central African territory, in close cooperation with the French forces of the Sangaris Operation. Thanks to their joint efforts, MISCA and Sangaris were able to contain the violence generated by the attacks that occurred in early December 2013. In conformity with the relevant decisions of Council, this coordination will also be extended to the forces of the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord ‘s Resistance Army (RCI-LAR), a contingent of which is deployed in the Obo area, in the prefecture of Haut Mbomou.

The security situation has continued to improve in Bangui, especially after the decisions of the ECCAS Extraordinary Summit of 10 January 2014, even if it remains volatile in the major part of the CAR territory. The current efforts to secure the CAR portion of the corridor that connect the CAR to Cameroon, and which is the main supply route for the CAR, will allow a smooth flow of trade between the CAR and the port of Douala. In the hinterland, the situation is calm in the Centre and North-East but tense in the North-West, where clashes between anti-Balaka and former Seleka elements caused significant displacement of people. On 11 January 2014, and at the initiative of my Special Representative, an emergency meeting of the National Security Council was held under the chairmanship of the Interim Head of State of the Transition, with the participation of representatives of the former Seleka, the FACA and the anti-Balaka, as well as of the AU and France. The meeting urged all armed groups and FACA to put an immediate end to attacks and to engage in the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR).

III. HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS

As a result of the security developments in recent months, the humanitarian situation is catastrophic. The number of displaced persons is estimated at 500,000 in Bangui, including 100,000 in the airport area alone. There are between 800,000 to 900,000 displaced persons in the CAR. At the IDP sites, there are about 60% ??of children. The number of Central Africans who have sought refuge in neighboring countries since December 2013 is estimated at over 72,000. The prevailing insecurity is making it difficult to deliver regularly humanitarian assistance to the affected people. To address the humanitarian needs over the next three months, aid agencies have appealed for the mobilization of 152 million US Dollars.

Clashes between anti-Balaka and former Seleka have resulted in serious violations of human rights, including killings, death threats and other acts of intimidation, arrests and abductions, as well as looting and destruction of property. The sectarian violence has resulted in heavy losses of lives and massive displacements of populations, since 5 December 2013. Combined with the stigmatization of some communities, the prevailing insecurity has compelled many foreigners to leave the CAR.

The Commission has deployed an initial group of five human rights observers within MISCA’s civilian component to enable the Mission to better document human rights violations and facilitate actions aimed at ensuring accountability. Since 4 January 2014, these observers have begun consultations with the relevant CAR authorities, civil society organizations, international organizations and other stakeholders, in order to assess the overall situation and determine how best to implement their mandate. They have begun to collect initial information on violations of human rights in the city of Bangui and will be deployed in the provinces as soon as possible.

IV. DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILISATION AND REINTEGRATION AND SECURITY SECTOR REFORM

Regarding the DDR and the Security Sector Reform (SSR), two national coordination mechanisms were put in place to better channel and harmonize efforts in these areas, both at the strategic and technical levels. These coordination mechanisms were suspended because of the security situation. With the establishment of MISCA on 19 December 2013, it was decided to reactivate these mechanisms.

Confidence-building measures proposed by the MICOPAX and Sangaris Operation and agreed to just before the establishment of MISCA, which revolve around four areas (identification, disarmament, cantonment and behavior of different forces), have enabled the cantonment of 7,140 former Seleka elements in 14 sites around Bangui. On the other hand, following the appeals made to the FACA, the Gendarmerie and the Police, 3,538 out of a total of 8,434 elements of the FACA, 1,085 out of 2,226 gendarmes and 900 out of 1,500 police have been identified between 23 and 31 December 2013, according to the national authorities in Bangui.

MISCA continues its advocacy for the finalization of the cantonment of the former Seleka elements, including support for their sustenance at their cantonment sites. The Mission has requested UNDP’s support for capacity building to enable it support the identification and registration process of the elements of the defense and security forces. MISCA’s efforts are also geared towards the promotion of the broadest possible national consensus on issues of DDR and SSR. These efforts resulted in the signature by the Prime Minister, on 6 January 2014, of the General Guidelines for this purpose.

V. OBSERVATIONS

While the situation in the CAR remains a source of concern, the decisions taken by the Extraordinary Summit of ECCAS and the subsequent evolution observed on the ground have generated an encouraging momentum which should be sustained. I wish to reiterate my deep appreciation to the countries of the region for their critical role, particularly through the actions of Presidents Idriss Deby Itno and Denis Sassou Nguesso, who are respectively the Chairman of ECCAS and Chairman of its Follow-up Committee on the situation in the CAR. Since the outbreak of the CAR crisis, the region has shown an unwavering commitment and mobilized significant resources to facilitate the search for a solution. I call upon the international community to continue to support their efforts.

Building on the work done by MICOPAX, MISCA is exerting efforts towards the effective implementation of its mandate. I congratulate the Head of the Mission and his staff for their sustained efforts and sacrifices. The results achieved thus far, through the joint action of MISCA and the Sangaris Operation, are very encouraging, more especially as the situation is particularly complex. I am confident in the ability of MISCA, as long as the necessary resources are availed to the Mission, to significantly improve the security situation, with a view to facilitating the execution of the different tasks of the Transition. For the international community, the priority should be to support MISCA, through the provision of financial and logistical resources and, where necessary, technical expertise, as well as through the provision of support in specific areas. In so doing, it will enable the Mission to carry out its mandate and thus create conditions for a possible deployment of a UN peace keeping operation.

In this regard, I wish to reiterate the AU’s gratitude to the international partners supporting MISCA, particularly the United States, France and the EU, as well as Japan and the United Nations. I urge them to continue their support. I wish to call upon other international partners to also support MISCA. The Donors’ Conference scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, on 1 February 2014, is a unique opportunity for the international community as a whole to show solidarity with the CAR people through adequate support to MISCA. It goes without saying that the AU Member States have a crucial role to play. The African ownership and leadership to which the AU aspires necessarily requires a significant contribution to the financing of MISCA. In this regard, I welcome the commitment made by the members of Council at their meeting held in Banjul on 30 December 2013. In addition to bilateral contributions from Member States, I also recommend, following the example of what was done to support the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), that part of the budget for MISCA be assessed to Member States, on the basis of their contributions to the AU’s regular budget, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council.

International solidarity alone will not make it possible to overcome the serious difficulties facing the CAR. The CAR political and other stakeholders have a crucial role to play. There can be no lasting solution without national ownership and leadership. Consequently, I reiterate the AU’s appeal to the CAR stakeholders to place the supreme interests of their country above partisan and others considerations. They must seize the unique opportunity offered by the ECCAS Summit of 10 January 2014 to revitalize the Transition and end the untold suffering endured by their people. In this regard, I welcome the election of Ms. Catherine Samba-Panza as the Head of State for the Transition and hail the sense of responsibility, maturity and commitment shown by the CAR actors on this occasion.

Once again, I strongly condemn the abuses and other serious violations of human rights committed in the CAR. Their perpetrators must be identified and held accountable. In view of the serious humanitarian situation obtaining on the ground, I urgently appeal to all the members of the international community to redouble their efforts to assist the affected populations. I thank the countries of the region for their generosity in hosting CAR refugees.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Report of the Chairperson of the AUC on the 416th PSC meeting on the situation in South Sudan

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — I. INTRODUCTION

The present report is submitted in pursuance of communiqué PSC/AHG/COMM.1(CDXI) Rev.1 on the situation in South Sudan adopted by Council at its 411th meeting held in Banjul, The Gambia, on 30 December 2013, at the level of Heads of State and Government. The report provides an update on the evolution of the mediation efforts led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the prevailing situation on the ground, as well as on the follow-up to the above-mentioned Council’s communiqué. The report concludes with observations on the way forward.

I. EVOLUTION OF THE IGAD-LED MEDIATION EFFORTS

At its Banjul meeting, I provided Council with an update on the IGAD-led mediation in the conflict in South Sudan. In particular, I highlighted the visit to Juba of an IGAD ministerial delegation, from 19 to 21 December 2013, as well as the visit undertaken, on 26 December 2013, by the Chairperson of IGAD, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. These visits were followed by the convening of the 23rd IGAD Extraordinary Summit, in Nairobi, on 27 December 2013. The Summit stressed the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities and to take urgent measures towards an all-inclusive dialogue, including reviewing the status of the detainees in recognition of their role, in accordance with the laws of the Republic of South Sudan. The Summit decided that face-to-face talks would commence by 31st December 2013.

In its Banjul communiqué, Council welcomed the IGAD communiqué of 27 December 2013. Notably, it demanded that the parties: immediately and unconditionally cease hostilities; engage in unconditional and inclusive dialogue, requesting, in this respect, that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan release all political leaders that are detained; ensure the protection of the civilian population and humanitarian workers; and put an immediate end to the mobilization of armed groups along ethnic lines and to any hostile and inflammatory message. On their part, the members of the United Nations Security Council, in a press statement issued on 30 December 2013, welcomed the IGAD Summit and the continued and essential engagement of IGAD to push for immediate dialogue among South Sudan leaders. The members of the Security Council also underlined and reiterated their call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for President Salva Kiir, former Vice-President Riek Machar and other political leaders to urgently engage in direct talks without preconditions.

As a follow-up to the IGAD communiqué of 27 December 2013 and the appeals made by the AU and the UN, as well as by other international stakeholders, the two parties, namely the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – SPLM/A (in opposition), appointed negotiation teams. Following two-days of extensive proxy talks that sought to understand key issues, as well as agree on the agenda items and modalities for negotiations, the face-to-face talks began in Addis Ababa on 4 January 2014, facilitated by an IGAD Mediation Team chaired by Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin of Ethiopia and comprising General Lazaro Sumbeiywo of Kenya and General Mohammed Ahmed Moustafa El Dabi of Sudan. The talks focused on two agenda items: the cessation of hostilities and the question of the detainees. On the same day, I issued a press statement welcoming the beginning of the talks, stressing that ending the fighting in South Sudan was not only a humanitarian imperative but also a strategic necessity, in order to halt the rapid descent of Africa’s newest nation into full blown civil war. I expressed AU’s full support for, and confidence in, the IGAD Mediation Team and its commitment to take all steps required to facilitate a successful conclusion of the negotiations.

On 6 January 2014, the two parties agreed on the basic documents that should guide the negotiations, namely the Rules of Procedure, the Terms of Reference and the Modalities of Engagement. Subsequently, the Mediation Team visited South Sudan on a number of occasions, to engage President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar, as well as the detainees. During these meetings, President Kiir reiterated his Government’s commitment to the search for a political solution and to unconditional negotiations on the cessation of hostilities, so as to bring an end to the violence in his country. Dr. Riek Machar, while raising some concerns, expressed his readiness to cooperate with the Mediation Team and acknowledged the lead role of IGAD. On their part, the detainees expressed their support for the ongoing efforts, and stressed that their status should not be an impediment to reaching an agreement on the cessation of hostilities.

In a press statement issued on 10 January 2014, the members of the UN Security Council reiterated their strong support for the mediation efforts led by IGAD. They underlined their demand for President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar and other political leaders to demonstrate leadership by immediately agreeing to a cessation of hostilities and commencing a broader dialogue. In particular, they urged Mr. Machar to move forward and agree to a cessation of hostilities without any precondition. They requested the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to release all political leaders that are detained, in order to create an environment conducive for a successful dialogue.

At its 413th meeting held on 16 January 2014, Council reiterated its grave concern at the escalation of the political dispute into a full-fledged civil war, the deepening humanitarian crisis and the violations of human rights in the country. Council also reiterated its call for an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities, as well as its call to the leaders of South Sudan to rise to the challenge of acting in a spirit of national interest and selfless patriotism. Council expressed full support and appreciation to the efforts being deployed by IGAD, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia. Council also expressed appreciation to the IGAD Mediation Team, and urged the parties to extend full cooperation to it. Council welcomed the close coordination between the Mediation Team and the AU Commission and encouraged the Commission to take all necessary steps to enhance AU’s support to the IGAD-led efforts, including further interaction with the South Sudanese parties. Council further reiterated its determination to impose targeted sanctions against all those found to be obstructing peace and reconciliation efforts in South Sudan.

Based on its interaction with the parties, the Mediation Team submitted to them a draft Final Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities. The parties made contributions to the document proposed by the Mediation Team, which also made proposals regarding the issue of the detainees.

On 23 January 2014, in Addis Ababa, the Parties signed the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities and the Agreement on the Status of Detainees. The Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities revolves around the following elements: declaration of cessation of hostilities; cessation of hostile propaganda; protection of civilians; and humanitarian access. The Agreement also provides for a Monitoring and Verification Mechanism under the leadership of IGAD. The Agreement on the Status of Detainees, having acknowledged the role that the detainees can play in the ongoing dialogue in South Sudan, in line with the IGAD communiqué of 27 December 2013, commit the parties to the outcome of the peace process and to an all-inclusive dialogue to resolve the issues connected with the current crisis. It also commits the parties to establish an all-inclusive national reconciliation process, in which the detainees and other political actors, civil society organisations, traditional and religious leaders have a significant role to play.

II. FOLLOW-UP TO COUNCIL’S BANJUL COMMUNIQUE OF 30 DECEMBER 2013

As a follow-up to Council’s meeting in Banjul, the Commission forwarded the communiqué adopted on that occasion to the Parties, requesting them to keep it updated on the steps they would be undertaking in compliance with the demands contained therein. The communiqué was also formally transmitted to the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers and Executive Secretary, as well as to the UN Secretary-General and Security Council, for information and action as may be appropriate. Both the Commissioner for Peace and Security and I had interactions with the Troïka (Norway, United Kingdom and United States) to exchange views with them on the situation and to update them on AU’s efforts pursuant to the Banjul communiqué of the Council.

The Commission also intensified its interaction with the IGAD Mediation Team. On 15 January 2014, I met with Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, who updated me on the efforts being deployed in order to reach a cessation of hostilities and facilitate negotiations on the other aspects of the conflict. We agreed that the AU would be included in the Mediation Team in order to facilitate coordination. Furthermore, and following AU’s endorsement of the request made by IGAD, the EU, on 16 January 2014, agreed to provide financial support to the IGAD-led mediation process, within the framework of the Africa Peace Facility (APF).

On 20 January 2014, and as part of AU’s support to the IGAD-led efforts, I undertook a visit to Juba, accompanied by the Commissioner for Peace and Security. On that occasion, I met with President Salvar Kiir Mayardit, as well as with the detainees. In my interactions with both parties, I insisted on the need for them to urgently sign an agreement on the cessation of hostilities, so as to stop the senseless killings taking place in South Sudan and bring to an end the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in their country. While the parties offered different explanations on the root causes of the current crisis, both nevertheless agreed that the fundamental issue is a political problem within the ruling party, which requires a political rather than a military solution. They also agreed on the urgency of an immediate and unconditional signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement to stop the killing and the suffering of the people of South Sudan. In this regard, the detainees reiterated their position that their release should not be used as a pre-condition for the conclusion of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

In its Banjul communiqué, Council requested me, in consultation with the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and other relevant AU structures, to urgently establish a Commission of inquiry to investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and make appropriate recommendations on the best ways and means of ensuring accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities. As a follow-up to this decision, the Commission has since taken steps to develop the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry, select its members and mobilize the necessary support for the effective discharge of its mandate.

I seized the opportunity of my visit to Juba to explain to the parties the decision taken by Council on the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry. I stressed that the inquiry would be an African-led process and would aim to address the plight of the victims of human rights violations and to assist the Government and people of South Sudan to identify the elements that are needed to strengthen the institutions of their young nation, while providing reconciliation and healing opportunities to its diverse people and ensuring sustainable peace. In so doing, the inquiry would build on African experience and act within the framework of relevant AU instruments. Both parties supported the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry along the terms that I described and discussed with them, and undertook to collaborate with the inquiry. In its press statement of 10 January 2014, the members of the UN Security Council welcomed Council’s decision to establish the Commission of Investigation to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities, while also demanding that all human rights violations and abuses should seize and stressing that those responsible will be held accountable. The UN Security Council also welcomed and encouraged the efforts of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to monitor, investigate, verify and report the abuses.

III. EVOLUTION OF THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND

Since the conflict began on 15 December 2013, it has spread to various parts of the country, particularly to the Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states. At the time of compiling this report, the forces of the Government of South Sudan had recaptured the major cities that were under the control of the rebel forces, including Bor, in the Jonglei State, Malakal, in the Upper Nile State, and Bentui, in Unity State.

As a result of the fighting, the humanitarian situation has further deteriorated since my last report to Council. On 12 January 2014, over 200 people died after the boat that they were using to escape to safety from Malakal capsized in the Nile River. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), 494,000 people have been internally displaced since the conflict started on 15 December 2013, while 89,100 people have crossed into neighbouring countries, with over half of them to Uganda. The number of people sheltering in UN peacekeeping bases across the country is estimated at 66,900, with the largest concentrations in Malakal and in Juba. So far, the humanitarian aid agencies have been able to assist an estimated 204,500 people. According to the UN, US$105 million is needed to meet the immediate requirements under the South Sudan Crisis Response Plan. The total requirements for humanitarian action in South Sudan in 2014 stand at US$1.4 billion.

IV. OBSERVATIONS

During the period under review, the situation on the ground has continued to be a cause for serious concern. Since the beginning of the conflict, thousands of people have been killed, while others died trying to escape the violence. Tens of thousands of people have sought protection in the UNMISS camps. Overall, more than half a million have fled their homes. The conflict has caused needless bloodshed and destruction, and it has set back the cause of development and democracy in South Sudan, while impacting negatively on the wider region.

Against this background, I welcome the signing of the Agreements on Cessation of Hostilities and the Status of Detainees. This marks a first and significant step towards the search for a lasting solution to the conflict in South Sudan. I commend the parties for the spirit of compromise and mutual accommodation that they have demonstrated in the course of the negotiations. I call on them to faithfully and fully implement the commitments they have made, so as to rapidly improve the humanitarian situation on the ground, including by facilitating unfettered and secured access by humanitarian aid agencies to all the people who are in urgent need for assistance, especially women, children and the elderly. The importance of the early establishment and operationalization of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism provided for in the Agreement cannot be overemphasized. I urge the parties to extend full cooperation to IGAD. It is critical that the parties, building on the progress made, engage in the envisaged all-inclusive political dialogue with the required commitment and leadership, in order to address the underlying causes of the conflict, and recommit themselves to rebuilding their young nation.

I would like to, once again, express the AU’s appreciation for the continued commitment and leadership of IGAD and to its Chair, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, as well as to the other Heads of State and Government of the region. I hail the perseverance and untiring efforts of the IGAD Mediation Team, which made possible the signing of the Agreements of 23 January 2014. I reiterate AU’s commitment to continue supporting the IGAD-led efforts and to actively follow up on the relevant decisions of Council notably through the early operationalization of the Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations committed in the course of the conflict, with a view to ensuring accountability and promoting reconciliation and healing.

I must also acknowledge the tremendous support extended by international partners to the mediation efforts. I have no doubt that we can continue to rely on their support, and I urge them to continue to use their influence on the parties to help find a lasting solution to the conflict. I must also acknowledge the humanitarian assistance being extended to the affected populations. I call for renewed efforts to mobilize additional resources to meet the humanitarian needs on the ground.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Africa: DHL’s deliveries just got stranger…

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — DHL Express (http://www.dhl.com) recently released its annual list of quirky, strange and speedy delivery requests for 2013 which ranged from delivering nine gorillas across two continents, to transporting the Webb Ellis trophy and a specific heart internal defibrillator. In addition to these global shipments, a few more interesting packages which were delivered closer to home have come to light and are worth mentioning.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/dhl_logo2.jpg

Photo Sumesh Rahavendra: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/sumesh_rahavendra.jpg (Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan (SSA)

According to Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), within the SSA region there has been an increase in strange food delivery requests with each passing year. He says that it is now becoming an increasingly interesting exercise to pin-point which deliveries stand out above the rest.

“One unique shipment to mention is a 32kg consignment of Haggis which was moved from the UK to Tanzania for an event. The Scottish delicacy was swiftly transported through customs and delivered in time for the prestigious event.”

Rahavendra says that in Kenya, live human eyes are transported on a regular basis. ”Understandably, the corneas have an extremely short life span and are therefore highly perishable, which possess a significant challenge to us.

“What adds to the complexity is the fact that the recipient is booked and prepped for surgery while the cornea is in transit. The successes of these deliveries rely on prior customs releases, dedicated delivery vehicles and a passionate team of certified international specialists on the ground. When there is no margin for error and the result could affect another person’s opportunity for sight, every stop is pulled out from pick-up to delivery.”

Another unusual personal delivery was for a customer who shipped his laundry from the United Kingdom to a Southern African country….for dry cleaning.

For many people, a wedding is one of the most important and special days of their life, and the price of one’s happiness on ‘the big day’ is immeasurable, says Rahavendra. “In light of this, 1.7 tons of fresh flowers were sent from Johannesburg to Douala in Cameroon for such an occasion. This personal request came from a customer whose two sons were getting married on the same day. Fast forward a few short hours, and a splendor of colour was delivered to the event in time for the all important nuptials.”

He says that on the conservation front, an interesting delivery in Kenya included the transport of butterfly larvae. “Any delay in the transport process would result in the premature hatching of the butterflies, from which they would not have survived. Following a similar operational process as the transport of the corneas previously mentioned, another successful, yet another unique delivery was completed.

“From election ballots to presidential documents, DHL Express is trusted to pick up and deliver shipments as fast as possible around the world on a scheduled Express Network. The customer is at the center of everything we do and it is this customer centricity that drives us to deliver two million packages across the globe on a daily basis, no matter how unique the package might be. Although sometimes challenging and stressful, such requests certainly help bring a smile to our faces on a busy day”, concludes Rahavendra.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

Media Contact:

Megan Collinicos

Head: Advertising & Public Relations, Sub-Saharan Africa

DHL Express

Tel +27 21 409 3613

Mobile +27 76 411 8570

megan.collinicos@dhl.com

DHL – The Logistics company for the world

DHL (http://www.dhl.com) is the global market leader in the logistics industry and “The Logistics Company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation, contract logistics and international mail services to its customers. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and about 285,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL. The Group generated revenue of more than 55 billion Euros in 2012.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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