U.S. Welcomes Selection of New Transitional President of the Central African Republic

WASHINGTON, January 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

January 21, 2014

The United States welcomes the selection of Catherine Samba-Panza as Transitional President in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). As C.A.R.’s first woman head of state since the country’s independence, and with her special background in human rights work and mediation, she has a unique opportunity to advance the political transition process, bring all the parties together to end the violence, and move her country toward elections not later than February 2015.

We also commend the Transitional National Council for conducting the selection process for the new C.A.R. Transitional President in a deliberate, open, and transparent manner that ensured the airing of a full range of views from C.A.R.’s civil society.

The United States has been deeply engaged in the work to help pull C.A.R. back from the brink, including the pivotal visits of Ambassador Power and Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield less than a month ago. The United States, along with regional leaders of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the African Union, and other members of the international community, hopes to support President Samba-Panza and call on the people of C.A.R. to work constructively with her, participate in the political process, and avoid any resurgence in violence.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Statement at the End of an IMF Staff Visit to Swaziland

MBABANE, Swaziland, January 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Mr. Jiro Honda visited the Kingdom of Swaziland during January 13‒21, 2014. The mission discussed macroeconomic developments, the preliminary fiscal framework for 2014/15, and the authorities’ policy priorities, setting the stage for the upcoming 2014 Article IV consultation (scheduled for mid-2014). The mission met with the Prime Minister, Hon. Sibusiso Dlamini; Minister of Finance, Hon. Martin Dlamini; Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Hon. Prince Hlangusemphi; the Governor of the Central Bank of Swaziland, Mr. Majozi Sithole; other senior government officials, as well representatives of the private sector and development partners. The mission would like to express its gratitude to the authorities and their staffs for the highly professional, productive, and open discussions.

At the end of the mission, Mr. Honda issued the following statement:

“Swaziland’s economic performance has improved since the fiscal crisis of 2010‒11, which followed a significant reduction in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Following a decline in 2011, economic activity is estimated to have grown more than two percent in 2013. Inflation, after peaking at 9 percent in late 2012, has declined to 4

Categories: African Press Organization

Statement at the Conclusion of an IMF Mission to Guinea

CONAKRY, Guinea, January 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An IMF mission led by Harry Snoek visited Conakry during January 9-17, 2013 to complete discussions on the third review of a program supported by an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF),i which was approved by the IMF Executive Board on February 24, 2012 (see Press Release No. 12/57) in the amount of SDR 128.52 million (about US$194.99 million). The mission met with the President of the Republic, Alpha Condé and held working meetings with the State Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Kerfalla Yansané, the Minister for Plan, Sékou Traoré, the Minister Delegate for Budget, Mr. Mohammed Diaré, the Governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea, Mr. Lounceny Nabé, and other members of the government and policymakers. The mission also met with the leadership of the National Assembly, representatives of civil society and the donor community. Discussions focused on the review of measures in the 2014 budget and on the structural reform program.

At the conclusion of the mission Mr. Harry Snoek issued the following statement:

“The Guinean authorities and IMF staff have reached a preliminary agreement on a set of policies that could be supported by IMF management and the Executive Board, leading to the fourth disbursement under the ECF arrangement of SDR 18.36 million (about US$ 27.85 million).

“2013 was a difficult year for Guinea’s economy. Civil unrest in the run-up to legislative elections in September and the slowdown of mining activity caused economic growth to decelerate from 3.8 percent in 2012 to 2.5 percent in 2013.

“Notwithstanding the difficult environment, however, the government has done a valiant job to maintain economic stability. The sharp drop in tax revenue was offset by lower public spending helping contain the overall fiscal deficit. This has allowed the quantitative performance criteria for end-June 2013 to be observed; provisional data also indicate that the end-December 2013 target has been met. Monetary policy has also been conducted prudently, allowing the inflation to decelerate to some 10 percent last month (compared to 12.8 percent at end-2012) against the backdrop of a steady level of reserves and a stable exchange rate of the Guinean franc.

“The government’s ambitious structural reform program has however experienced delays. This partly reflects the difficult social and political situation, but also capacity constraints. This is an area where more focus and political support will be nece3ssary in the coming months.

“Prospects for 2014 are good. Growth is projected to rebound to 4

Categories: African Press Organization

22nd Summit of the African Union: The urgency to Ensure Protection, Security and Justice to African Populations

PARIS, France, January 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As the populations of the Central African Republic and South Sudan witness the commission of abhorrent atrocities, as those in Mali and Libya experience persistent insecurity and as those in Egypt face increasing restrictions upon their fundamental freedoms, FIDH calls upon the African Union, on the opening of its 22nd Summit in Addis Ababa, to work to ensure protection, security and justice for African populations.

“The African Union must take stock of the challenges posed by the perpetration of serious and massive human rights violations on the continent. The AU must provide a strong and coherent response to combat the rising number of conflicts that degenerate into ethnic or religious war, against the proliferation of terrorism, and against state collapse” declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. “Such a response must include the deployment of robust peacekeeping forces, the documentation of violations, the identification and bringing to justice of those responsible, as well as supporting democratic political processes and taking concrete measures to strengthen the rule of law” he added.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), civilians continue to suffer serious abuses throughout the country against a backdrop of political instrumentalisation leading to religious clashes. In the face of this spiraling crisis FIDH calls for the urgent deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation, which presents the only viable means of deploying the human, logistical and budgetary resources required to adequately support the African Union mission in the CAR and guarantee the safety of the civilian population throughout the territory. According to Mathias Morouba, President of the Central African Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH), who is currently conducting an advocacy mission to the African Union together with FIDH, “the worst is at work in the CAR and we fear that the situation will continue to deteriorate if the international community does not intervene accordingly. The chaos we face requires a peacekeeping operation able to ensure our protection and to get our country back on the track of political stability and security”.

In South Sudan, violent clashes that erupted last December between two sides of the political power, within one month took on an ethnic character, led to the killing of thousands of people and forced nearly 400,000 others into internal displacement. FIDH had already alerted the international community to the danger of inter-ethnic violence in South Sudan and had called for the strengthening of the legal and democratic institutional human rights framework in the country. Today FIDH reiterates this call. To prevent further deadly clashes and to strengthen the rule of law in South Sudan, FIDH calls upon the AU to ensure the deployment, without further delay, of an Independent Commission of Inquiry mandated to shed light on the circumstances of the violence, to identify those responsible so that they can be brought before competent courts and to identify political and democratic solutions aimed at promoting sustainable peace in the country.

Despite the restoration of constitutional order in Mali, the security situation, particularly in the north of the country, continues to raise concern. Persistent terrorist attacks and banditry, against a backdrop of stalled peace talks between the Malian authorities and armed groups, requires an urgent strengthening of AU action in this country. The AU must ensure that the parties comply with their previous commitments to secure the return of sustainable peace and security in this region.

In Libya, the security situation has deteriorated considerably in recent months with violence being particularly marked in Benghazi and Tripoli. The government is unable to regain control of armed militias and a genuine process of transitional justice, providing for mediation and disarmament phases, is yet to be implemented. The AU should help accelerate the establishment of a national consultation process on issues related to security and governance and ensure that independent mechanisms are able to document human

rights violations and establish responsibilities.

The AU has also a role to play in ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly in states experiencing political instability. In Egypt, FIDH is concerned by the fact that the implementation of most of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, which has just been approved by referendum, are subject to the adoption of implementing law, whilst Egypt recently adopted restrictive laws. Similarly, serious concerns remain about respect for the freedoms of opinion, expression and association, in a context where over 20 human rights defenders are still arbitrarily detained by the authorities. FIDH calls upon the AU to ensure that effective and independent mechanisms mandated to secure the implementation of constitutional provisions concerning fundamental rights and freedoms are put in place, that restrictive laws are repealed and that human rights defenders are released.

Amina Bouayach, FIDH Secretary General, who is also present in Addis Ababa states: “In all these situations of conflict and crisis, lack of a strong legal and institutional framework for the protection of human rights, rampant impunity, the exclusion of certain communities and the breaking of political dialogue have all been ingredients for the worst situations. The African Union must act out its responsibility to stop the violence and insecurity and to fight against the instability installed in many parts of our continent. ”

As the African Union Peace and Security Council meets on 29 January 2014, enabling Heads of State and Government to discuss the prevailing situations in the CAR, South Sudan and Egypt, FIDH calls upon the PSC to make firm commitments to these three countries and to consider the recommendations of our organisation. FIDH also submits to the Heads of State and Government the following recommendations.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Statement by the Press Secretary Announcing the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

WASHINGTON, January 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The White House is pleased to announce that the United States will host the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5 and 6, 2014. President Obama looks forward to welcoming leaders from across the African continent to the Nation’s Capital to further strengthen ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions. The Summit will build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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