U.S. Congressional Delegation Visits Egypt

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is pleased to welcome Congressman Michael McCaul and accompanying delegation to Egypt. A member of the United States House of Representatives, Congressman McCaul is the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which has oversight of the Department of Homeland Security ensuring it is able to carry out its core mission of protecting the American people from terrorist attacks.

The delegation plans to meet with senior Egyptian officials to discuss counterterrorism efforts, the U.S.-Egyptian partnership, and shared interests in regional security and stability.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

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Source:: U.S. Congressional Delegation Visits Egypt

Categories: AFRICA

Supporting Economic Development in Southern Africa – German Government Backs EU Economic Partnership Agreement with SADC

On 27th April 2016, the German Federal Cabinet approved the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) of the European Union with the SADC member states.

The Agreement will guarantee permanent tax and quota free access to the European market for products from Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland. South Africa, as the most developed country in the region, will receive extended market access to the European market. In return, the above mentioned countries are supposed to open their markets for about 80% of European products over the course of 12 years. As already practiced in other EPAs, products that are locally produced or have added value for the local economy, will remain permanently protected.

As an additional protection mechanism, the SADC-EPA countries may defer the liberalization of specific products or increase customs duties, if noticeable damage of the local industry is looming.

Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Müller said: “This agreement will create new opportunities for economically and socially sustainable development in Southern Africa. Trade barriers will be reduced. This will, for example, make it easier for South African or Namibian farmers to offer their agricultural products to the EU market. The same applies to processed products. Thus we create the conditions for added value in these countries. Only 17% of trade is inner-African while inside the EU it is 45%. We want to help our African partner countries to become more competitive, so that they can participate successfully in the world’s markets. This is an important requirement for a region in Africa whose economy is growing dynamically.”

In addition to the reduction of trade barriers, the agreement contains binding environmental and social standards and gives the European Commission the possibility to demand certain human rights standards. The agreement is therefore an important instrument in development cooperation for the further cooperation with SADC-EPA countries. The signing by the EU is planned during the session of the Foreign Affairs Council on the 23rd of May 2016 in Brussels and by SADC on the 10th of June 2016 in Gaborone. When the signing process is completed, the EPA will be presented to the German Federal Parliament for approval. Thus, the German Federal Government has done all that is necessary for the agreement to come into force in all SADC member states.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany – Windhoek.

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Source:: Supporting Economic Development in Southern Africa – German Government Backs EU Economic Partnership Agreement with SADC

Categories: AFRICA

UK troops support UN mission in Somalia

Following a recce to assess options, this is the first UK team to travel to Somalia as part of United Nations (UN) support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) that is working to build stability in the country and tackle the threat posed by extremist group Al-Shabaab.

UK military personnel, drawn from Force Troop Command, 1 Div and Field Army training will provide medical, logistical and engineering support as part of a wider UK commitment. Following the arrival of these initial troops, up to 70 UK personnel will deploy to Somalia this year.

This deployment is another demonstration of the flexibility and global reach of our Armed Forces,

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.

Alongside our efforts in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria, it shows our determination to tackle terrorism wherever it rears its head.

The commitment follows Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement in September that the UK would send troops to Somalia and South Sudan, and is part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) pledge to double the number of UK troops on UN peacekeeping tasks from the 300 currently deployed.

Personnel deploying to South Sudan will provide vital engineering work to strengthen infrastructure.

This work will require close engagement with the UN in both countries, as well as at its headquarters in New York.

The UK military’s contribution to peacekeeping aims to support efforts to end some of the world’s most destabilising conflicts, and reflects the UK’s long history of supporting UN peacekeeping. This includes a lasting presence in Cyprus, as well as British troops wearing blue berets around the world.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom.

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Source:: UK troops support UN mission in Somalia

Categories: AFRICA

Media advisory note for the 27th ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union Kigali, republic of Rwanda

ACCREDITATION FOR MEDIA PERSONNEL ATTENDING

All journalists will apply online. The media accreditation form is available on http://au.int/en/summit/27/accreditation

Once journalists receive confirmation of their application they may also apply for their visa online on https://www.migration.gov.rw/index.php?id=203. After online registration and receiving the confirmation message also later receive an invitation letter from the government of Rwanda, which you will use as support document for your online visa application.

All journalists holding passports from African countries may get their visa upon arrival at Kigali International Airport.

E-mail:

After completing the accreditation form, the form and scanned copies of all the required documents should be sent via e-mail to Mrs Rahel Akalewold on: 27thausummit@africa-union.org

Mail and fax:

After completing the accreditation form, the form and all the required documents should be sent to:

Mrs. Rahel Akalewold

Directorate of Information and Communication

African Union Commission

PO Box 3243

Addis Ababa

Ethiopia

Tel: +251 11 5526373 ext 2551;

E mail- 27thAUSummit@africa-union.org

Required documents to accompany application form

Two passport size photographs not more than six months old;
A letter of assignment on a letterhead from the journalist’s organization indicating his/ her function;
Copy of a valid professional press card or equivalent identification

It is also advisable to carry hard copies of all the required documents in case of any necessary checks. Applications should reach Mrs Akalewold before the 1st of July 2016

CUSTOMS CLEARANCE FOR MEDIA EQUIPMENT

Accredited media personnel bringing technical equipment with them to Rwanda will be subject to full Customs Control. Journalists are requested to send their list of equipment. See media equipment form on the AU website: http://au.int/en/summit/27/equipment

Journalists wishing to bring in live broadcasting equipment or to request live transmission facilities should contact the local contact provided below.

What to do in RWANDA

Journalists will need to get two badges.

The Government press badge will be issued by the government authorities. This involves being photographed before the card is processed. Journalists will be advised in due course of the accreditation venue. This badge will allow access into the Sumit venue.

AU Conference badge: After getting the government issued press badge, journalists will need to get their Conference badges from the African Union Commission at the venue of the Summit (Office of the AU Communication staff). This badge will give them access into the conference rooms during the Summit.

Journalists are advised to make sure they arrive in Rwanda in good time so as to have the documentation done before the meetings start.
Journalists are also advised to arrive at Summit venues early to ensure that they clear all entry procedures before the meetings start.

YELLOW FEVER CARDS

Yellow fever cards will be required at the ports of entry for everyone travelling from yellow fever designated countries.

MEDIA FACILITIES

A media center, with facilities for print, online and electronic media will be available at the Summit venue. Access to media facilities will be available only to accredited media representatives.

REQUESTS FOR INTERVIEWS WITH AUC LEADERSHIP

Journalists wishing to interview the leadership of the AU Commission during the 27th AU Summit should submit their requests to Mrs Esther Azaa Tankou, Ag. Director of Information and Communication of the AUC on YambouE@africa-union.org / esthertankou@yahoo.com; while for the Rwandan officials please go through the local contacts provided below.

Media briefings BY AU LEADERSHIP

Briefings by leaders of the various African Union organs and programmes will take place at the conference center. Journalists will be given advance notice of the briefing time, venue and speakers.

Other partner organisations of the AU occasionally request facilities through the DIC for media briefings during the Summit. Journalists will be notified of such briefings through postings in the media center

MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE SUMMIT

Opening and closing sessions during the meetings are open to journalists, depending on availability of space within the meeting rooms. Media practitioners will be informed of how to enter the plenary halls in the following ways:

A guideline will be circulated to all media on the AU database and on the AU website
A briefing session will be held for all media during the Summit. A notice will be circulated regarding the time and date of the briefing.

LIVE STREAMING

Open sessions of the Summit will be streaming live on http://www.rba.co.rw/ for the public to follow live all the open sessions worldwide.

These feeds will be available through the media centre. Media will also be notified of all live streamed meetings via the website and notices posted in the media center.

11. Telephones and faxes

Telephone facilities will be available on a commercial basis.

12. TELEVISION AND RADIO

The link for live proceedings of the opening session of the Assembly will be publicised as soon as it is established.

Related enquiries should be sent to Mr Kennedy Munyangeyo from Rwanda Broadcast Agency +250 788 305 170, mukennedy@yahoo.fr

13. ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation will be on self-arrangement basis. Journalists are advised to make their booking early to avoid last minute inconveniences. A list of hotels in Kigali, Rwanda will soon be available on the African Union website.

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

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Source:: Media advisory note for the 27th ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union Kigali, republic of Rwanda

Categories: AFRICA

Didier Reynders supports campaign and actions for elephants in Kenya

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders salutes the historic gesture by the Republic of Kenya today, as it is burning its stock of ivory and horns. No less than 105 tons of ivory will be set in flames, sending a strong message to the world that elephants are “worth more alive”, as the campaign rightly says.

Minister Reynders expresses his support to Kenya on this important day, recalling that Belgium also crushed its own stock of seized Ivory in April 2014. Belgium is at the side of Kenya in its fight against poaching and in favour of wildlife conservation.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium – Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

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Source:: Didier Reynders supports campaign and actions for elephants in Kenya

Categories: AFRICA

UNEP Deputy Executive Director Statement at Giants Club Summit and Kenya Ivory Burn

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw released the following statement on the occasion of the largest ivory burn in history, taking place in Kenya at the close of the Giants Club Summit.

“My own first encounter with an elephant was a carcass. I didn’t know then, but it was possibly one of the last elephants in Mauritania. It taught me that extinction is not about the dinosaurs of the past or the watch-lists for tomorrow: extinction is already happening, has already happened, in my own lifetime, before my eyes.

“What has been made eminently clear at the Giants Club Summit is that efforts to tackle this crisis are increasingly backed by a growing public, political and private sector force for change, and that we, as an international community, are prepared to face these challenges with an unprecedented level of commitment, dedication and passion. It will take nothing less to end this crisis.

“We must also remember that wildlife has more value alive than dead and that wildlife can generate sustainable revenues to fund the education, healthcare and infrastructure that will lift people out of poverty and drive economic growth. By reconciling social, economic and environmental interests, Africa can harness its natural heritage to help deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Later this month, a One UN Global Coalition campaign that aims to raise awareness and reduce demand for these illegal products will be launched. The Wild for Life Campaign, which will be launched next month at the United Nations Environment Assembly here in Kenya, unites a range of UN agencies, partners and UN Goodwill Ambassadors. I hope all of you will join me in making pledges of personal action in the lead up to World Environment Day on 5 June, which will be hosted in Angola.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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Source:: UNEP Deputy Executive Director Statement at Giants Club Summit and Kenya Ivory Burn

Categories: AFRICA

On Ethiopia’s Charges of Terrorism Against Political Leaders

Press Statement

John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs

Washington, DC

April 29, 2016

The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Ethiopia’s recent decision to file terrorism charges against Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) First Vice-Chairman Bekele Gerba and others in the Oromia region who were arrested in late 2015.

We again urge the Ethiopian government to discontinue its reliance on the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation law to prosecute journalists, political party members, and activists, as this practice silences independent voices that enhance, rather than hinder, Ethiopia’s democratic development.

We commend Ethiopian officials for pledging to address legitimate grievances from their citizens and acknowledging that security forces were responsible for some of the violence that took place during the protests in Oromia; however, the government continues to detain an unknown number of people for allegedly taking part in these protests and has not yet held accountable any security forces responsible for alleged abuses. This undermines the trust and confidence needed to produce lasting solutions.

We urge the Ethiopian government to respect due process of those detained by investigating allegations of mistreatment, by publicly presenting the evidence it possesses against them, and by distinguishing between political opposition to the government and the use or incitement of violence. We reaffirm our call on the government to protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of its citizens, including the right to participate in political parties, and we urge the Government to promptly release those imprisoned for exercising these rights.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: On Ethiopia’s Charges of Terrorism Against Political Leaders

Categories: AFRICA

Minister for Africa statement on the Burundi dialogue

Minister for Africa James Duddridge said:

I am disappointed by the postponement of the Burundi dialogue that was due to take place in Arusha next week under the guidance of former-President Mkapa of Tanzania. I fully support the efforts of President Mkapa and his team and their goal of ensuring that this dialogue is for all Burundians.

I am extremely concerned at the recent increase in killings in Burundi, including the recent assassination of Brigadier General Athanase Kararuza and the attempted assassination of the Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender, Martin Nivyabandi. I condemn all such attacks. I also condemn the ongoing human rights abuses, including torture and ill treatment by the security services. By refusing to engage in an inclusive dialogue the Government of Burundi is actively obstructing the national reconciliation process that will put an end to these crimes. I again call upon the Government of Burundi to engage in meaningful dialogue based upon respect for the Arusha Accords.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Source:: Minister for Africa statement on the Burundi dialogue

Categories: AFRICA

Oakbay Investments responds to adverse decision of Independent Media (pty) Ltd not to run adverts

Oakbay (www.OakbayInvestments.co.za) wishes to express its disappointment and disgust at the decision made today by Independent Media (pty) not to run Oakbay adverts in its newspapers, Pretoria News, Daily News and the Argus. The adverts were intended as a direct plea to ABSA, Nedbank, Standard Bank and FNB to save 7,500 Oakbay jobs by restoring banking services to Oakbay.

This was not a branding campaign. Oakbay’s intended placing of the adverts in the South African media was to raise awareness of the issue and an attempt to save the jobs of its 7,500 employees‎ and the interests and security of their families who depend on them.

The adverts follow a march earlier this week on the Banks led by employees of Oakbay where a memorandum was handed to ABSA Bank who, disappointingly, are yet to respond to the desperate plea of our employees.

The decision of Independent Media today is further evidence of a sustained attack on the family and its business interests and we find it totally unacceptable that several thousand direct employees and tens of thousands of their dependents will have to suffer as a result of the campaign against Oakbay.

Further, editorial independence is internationally recognised as a hallmark of good quality journalism and independence of the editorial and advertising arms of newspapers must be maintained in any democracy.

Independent Media by name maybe, but clearly not in its nature, as Independent Media seem to feel they are the exception to the internationally recognised and unwritten rule of editorial independence.

We repeat our plea to the banks, please do the right thing and save 7,500 Oakbay jobs by restoring banking services to our businesses.

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

Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact: corpcomm@oakbay.co.za

About Oakbay Investments

Oakbay Investments (www.OakbayInvestments.co.za) has invested more than R10 billion in South Africa. Oakbay Investments is 100% transparent – all numbers have been verified by one of the world’s most respected accountancy firms.

Oakbay has a 23-year history of strong business performance and turnaround skills. This strong performance has come almost entirely via successful activity in the private sector, with less than 1% of the Group’s revenue coming from government contracts.

Sector diversification has also enabled Oakbay companies to deliver consistent growth and job creation throughout times of both economic boom and bust.

For example, 47,000 jobs have been lost in South Africa’s mining sector between 2012 and 2015. In contrast, Oakbay’s mining companies have created 3500 of jobs in the sector.

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Source:: Oakbay Investments responds to adverse decision of Independent Media (pty) Ltd not to run adverts

Categories: AFRICA

UK-US-Norway joint statement on the formation of the transitional government in South Sudan

Together with my Troika colleagues, I welcome the long-awaited formation of South Sudan’s transitional government of national unity. We also welcome the April 26 statements by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar calling for cooperation, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence. South Sudan’s leaders must now put political differences aside and start the difficult task of rebuilding their country. While formation of the transitional government is a step forward, with thousands dead, widespread atrocities committed and millions displaced from their homes this is no time for celebration, but for new commitment to seize this second chance to reclaim the promise of South Sudan. Today the international community stands united in urging the transitional government to start working for the people of South Sudan. The fighting must stop, decisive action must be taken to tackle the economic crisis and there must be full cooperation with the UN and humanitarian agencies to ensure aid reaches those in need; formal and informal impediments must be removed.

The Troika countries, UK, US and Norway, will remain long term partners and friends of South Sudan’s people. We stand ready to support the transitional government if it shows it is serious about working for the good of the country and implementing the peace agreement in full. In that regard, decisions undermining provisions the parties agreed to in negotiations, such as not fully meeting obligations for women’s participation in the council of ministers, sets a concerning precedent at the beginning of the transition. We expect the transitional government to honour its commitments. The people of South Sudan deserve nothing less.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Source:: UK-US-Norway joint statement on the formation of the transitional government in South Sudan

Categories: AFRICA

Joint Statement on South Sudan Peace Process

The text of the following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Norway.

Begin Text:

The members of the Troika (United States, United Kingdom, and Norway) welcome the long-awaited formation of South Sudan’s transitional government of national unity. We also welcome the April 26 statements by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar calling for cooperation, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence. We call on South Sudan’s leaders to continue this spirit of cooperation and to start the difficult task of rebuilding their country. While formation of the transitional government is a step forward, with thousands dead, widespread atrocities committed and millions displaced from their homes during the conflict, this is no time for celebration. Today the international community stands united in urging the transitional government to start to work for the people of South Sudan. The fighting must stop, decisive action must be taken to tackle the economic crisis and there must be full cooperation with the UN and humanitarian agencies to ensure aid reaches those in need; formal and informal impediments must be removed.

The Troika countries will remain long term partners and friends of South Sudan’s people. We stand ready to support the transitional government if it shows it is serious about working for the good of the country and implementing the peace agreement in full. In that regard, decisions undermining provisions the parties agreed to in negotiations, such as not fully meeting obligations for women’s participation in the council of ministers, sets a concerning precedent at the beginning of the transition. We expect the transitional government to honor its commitments. The people of South Sudan deserve nothing less.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Joint Statement on South Sudan Peace Process

Categories: AFRICA

Sudan: UN expert calls for a positive environment for a free and inclusive national dialogue

The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, urged the Sudanese Government “to enable a conducive environment for a free and inclusive national dialogue by respecting the basic fundamental rights of Sudanese people, including the rights to freedoms of expression and association, and of the press.”

“I remain concerned about a number of human rights issues in the country,” Mr. Nononsi said at the end of his second mission to the Sudan. “I continue to hear about cases of arbitrary arrests and detention, as well as allegations of ill-treatment and travel ban on human rights defenders and political activists by security forces, including the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).”

The Independent Expert raised concern with the relevant authorities about the arrest and detention without charges of four pastors in Khartoum since mid-December 2016 as well as those of five students from the University of Khartoum since 13 April 2016.

“I was informed that the first case was transferred to judicial authorities who have charged the four pastors with criminal offenses. I was also informed that the case of the students will be shortly handed over to the relevant judicial authorities for prosecutions,” he noted. “I call on Sudanese authorities to ensure that the right to a fair trial and due process is guaranteed to these individuals.”

Mr. Nononsi also drew attention to the ongoing censorship of newspapers, and increased restrictions on journalists from freely expressing their opinion. “I raised the suspension since mid-December 2015 of the Al-Tayar newspaper with the authorities, and I strongly recommended that the appeal of Al-Tayar newspaper against NISS’ decision to suspend its operations is guaranteed an independent judicial review along with provision of adequate compensation,” he added.

The Independent Expert recalled that, in recent weeks, the authorities prevented four Sudanese human rights defenders from attending the pre-briefing session of the Universal Periodic Review* in Geneva

“I would like to emphasize the important role played by human rights defenders and journalists, and stress the need for the Government of Sudan to allow them to carry out their activities in an open, safe and secure environment,” the human rights expert said.

(*) NOTE TO EDITORS: The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Source:: Sudan: UN expert calls for a positive environment for a free and inclusive national dialogue

Categories: AFRICA