Germany willing to provide air transport for the EU military operation in the Central African Republic

BERLIN, Germany, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — To contribute to the success of today’s (28 March) force generation conference in Brussels for the European Union military bridging operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR CAR), Germany will additionally make available strategic air transport to the country’s capital, Bangui. This key enabler will help the European partners participating in the EU military operation to rapidly move personnel and materiel to the area of operations. Recently, the operation in this civil-war-torn country threatened to fail, due to a lack of such a capability for strategic deployment, that is, airlifting large and heavy cargo over long distances.

Federal Minister von der Leyen:

The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic is alarming. This makes it all the more important for the EU military operation to strengthen stability and security, so as to prevent violent conflict in the country from taking root and spreading. Rapid airlift of materiel and personnel is a key enabler. A lack thereof has so far prevented establishment of an EU military operation for the Central African Republic. I am very pleased that Germany can help solve this problem, without overstraining the Federal Armed Forces’ airlift capabilities in other operational areas, such as in connection with Afghanistan redeployment.

Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier:

We are prepared to support the planned EU military bridging operation in the Central African Republic. France, among others, has requested temporary assistance from European partners, so as to prevent state structures in the Central African Republic from collapsing entirely, and to achieve initial stabilisation. It is our shared European responsibility to pool all of the capabilities that are required for this. That is why Germany will make available more air transport. This will not require any additional German personnel to be deployed to the area of operations.

For these transport flights to Bangui, the Federal Armed Forces will use Antonov An-124-100 aircraft leased from the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS). Since 2006, Germany has been a party to the contract between the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) and RUSLAN SALIS GmbH, which is headquartered in Leipzig. This will put at the full disposal of the 14 participating nations two aircraft, each with a maximum payload of 150 tons. Germany is currently employing this capability intensively, primarily for follow-on supply to, and redeployment of, the German ISAF contingent in Afghanistan. This cooperation has proven its worth over a long period of time.

Germany remains willing to participate in the EU military bridging operation in the Central African Republic by making available strategic MEDEVAC capabilities, and by providing personnel for the Operation Headquarters (OHQ) in Larissa, as well as for the Force Headquarters (FHQ) in Bangui.

Beyond the air transport that Germany is providing within the framework of the ISAF mission, Germany is already making such a capability available to the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Mali, as well as, on a bilateral level, to France for its national SANGARIS operation in the Central African Republic.

On 10 February 2014, European Union Foreign Ministers decided to establish an EU military bridging operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR CAR). The aim, in coordination with international organisations (United Nations, African Union) and other actors, is to mitigate the threat posed by armed groups to the civilian population, and to ease civilian suffering, as well as to help the Central African Republic return to constitutional order. The EUFOR CAR operation plan and rules of engagement were approved on 17 March 2014.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

EU-Africa Summit

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The fourth EU-Africa summit will take place in Brussels on 2-3 April under the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”. Building on the spirit of their 2007 Joint

Strategy, Africa and the European Union will discuss as equal partners how to deepen cooperation under these three areas.

Africa and the EU are jointly committed to foster human capital through education and training, to create additional incentives for investment, and to find ways of stimulating growth that will create jobs in particular for young people. They work closely together for peace and security, which are prerequisites for prosperity and growth. .

The European Union will be represented by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. The summit will bring together the Heads of State and Government of the European Union and the African continent, together with the leaders of the EU and African Union institutions.

A range of high-ranking international observers will also be associated.

“Both Africa and the European Union will come together to address the challenges that each of our continent faces and the ones that face the world as a whole. The theme we have chosen addresses the everyday concerns of our citizens– their safety and security, their job prospects, and their future as families and individuals. I am looking forward to a summit that will further reinforce our partnership and contribute to improve the quality of hope of our population “, said President Van Rompuy. President Barroso ahead of the meeting said: “Fulfilling the vision set out in the Joint

Africa-EU Strategy, the summit will deepen our partnership of equals and seize further cooperation opportunities by expanding political, economic, investment and trade ties.

This includes the pursuit of durable and sustainable economic growth generating jobs for all our citizens”.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

European Parliament – Pan-African Parliament summit to be held in Brussels

STASBOURG, France, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — European Parliament will host a summit with the members of the Pan-African Parliament on 31 March and 1 April in room JAN 6Q2. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, and Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi, President of the Pan-African Parliament, will officially open the summit on Monday at 10:30.

The summit will assess the perspectives of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) with experts and prepare a declaration for the 4th EU-Africa summit held in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014.

Venue

European Parliament, József Antall Building, Room 6Q2

31 March 2014 (10:30) – 1 April (12:30)

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

IOM Trains Libyan Civil Society Organizations in Psychosocial Support

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has completed a three-month project to build capacity and mentor 35 community-based organizations in Tripoli in the field of psychosocial support.

The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), was implemented in partnership with Libya’s Ministry of Culture and Civil Society.

Activities included a mapping and analysis of civil society organizations (CSOs) associated with psychosocial support; the selection of the right organizations, who received a total of eighteen training sessions; and on the job mentoring to ensure that the tools acquired through the training were appropriately applied.

Training topics covered psychosocial support, community conflict mediation, individual and group counselling, capabilities and human development, community-based recreational and social activities, program identity and project cycle planning.

The program aimed to create sustainable linkages between the organizations to help them to work together towards harmony and peace, and meet the many pressing needs in mental health care that continue to plague Libyan society three years on from the revolution.

British Ambassador to Libya Michael Aron noted the need for projects of this type and emphasized the need for ongoing momentum.

“Over 90 participants took part in this demanding program and we were delighted by their enthusiastic desire to support Libyan families in overcoming the psychological burdens that they have carried for so long,” said IOM Libya psychosocial program manager Marcio Gagliato.

Since the revolution and the ensuing conflict, volunteerism has expanded and the number of civil society organizations in Libya has expanded. Many participants are ordinary people committed to breaking the cycle of violence and rebuilding a social fabric destroyed by conflict and decades of suppression of free expression.

The project built on two years of related work carried out by IOM through three community-based centers in Tripoli, Benghazi and Misurata.

To learn more about IOM Libya CSO Capacity Building, please go to http://www.psychosocial-csos.ly/webstep/

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

IOM Seeks $56.5m for CAR and Neighbours, Steps up Efforts to Reduce Conflict

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) in a downward spiral, IOM is today appealing for USD 56.5 million to bring life-saving assistance to the country and region.

The scope of IOM’s appeal has been broadened from CAR to Chad and Cameroon, which are carrying a heavy burden of an influx of migrants and returnees fleeing this terrible conflict.

In addition, IOM wants to reinforce transition and recovery efforts, which are beginning to show promise. IOM’s engagement with affected communities tells a story of hope amid the chaos.

“Security is deteriorating,” says IOM CAR Chief of Mission Giuseppe Loprete. “Attacks against the Muslim population in Bangui and outside are continuing and road movements are not safe for anyone, including aid workers. Muslim colleagues are particularly at risk, due to the numerous check points set by anti-Balaka armed groups.”

Analysis

“The CAR is facing a humanitarian, social, and economic crisis which is affecting the region at large. The outbreak of fighting between ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka forces in the beginning of September 2013 in the CAR and the continued violence has resulted in widespread displacement within and beyond the country’s borders. The security situation remains volatile and unpredictable countrywide. As of 19 March 2014, there were approximately 601,000 IDPs in the CAR, with 177,000 IDPs displaced in Bangui. Hundreds of thousands have also fled the country to return to their countries of origin, or have become refugees.”

IOM’s support of the mixed religious neighbourhood in the 3rd Arrondissement includes a successful street cleaning project. The scheme has supported 100 local youths from both sides of the divide to work side by side to clear away over 100 truckloads of garbage.

Such activities give ravaged communities renewed hope of working together for a better future. The project is so successful that surrounding neighbourhoods have asked for the project to be replicated.

In the midst of a dangerous information vacuum, where rumours quickly lead to cycles of violence, IOM’s community facilitators are constantly engaged in a two-way communication exchange with the affected population. They give a voice to the voiceless and pass messages of hope.

Next week IOM will extend its operations to Boda, which has suffered from inter-sectorial violence. There will be a distribution of core relief items to both communities and meetings with community leaders.

IOM’s “Intentions Survey” reveals that a majority of the population of CAR are people of good will, who want to return home, but fear extremism.

To date, IOM has supported the evacuation and return to their home country of over 100,000 stranded and vulnerable migrants, including close to 10,000 assisted with direct international transport assistance. Returns have been organized from both CAR and neighbouring Cameroon, mainly to Chad.

For more information, please visit: http://carresponse.iom.int/

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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