Foreign Secretary hosts high level talks in London on Hurricane Irma, North Korea and Libya

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, returns from his visit to the British Overseas Territories that have been devastated by Hurricane Irma today (Thursday 14 September) and will host a meeting with international partners in London about continued co-ordination in response to the Hurricane.

The Foreign Secretary will discuss the response to Hurricane Irma with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the French Political Director Nicolas de Rivière. This is Secretary Tillerson’s second visit to the UK since taking up his post, and follows his visit in May after the Manchester terror attack.

The UK has already provided a strategic airlift to support French operations on St Barts and St Martin and worked closely with the US authorities to ensure people’s safety in Florida.

The three countries will have a separate discussion on tackling the aggressive and illegal actions of the North Korean regime. The UK is at the heart of mobilising world opinion with the aim of achieving a diplomatic solution to the situation on the Korean peninsula. The international community adopted new measures on 11 September which put in place the most stringent UN sanctions regime placed on any nation in the 21st century.

The Foreign Secretary will also chair a meeting on Libya with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, US Secretary of State Tillerson, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar bin Mohamed Gargash and the French Political Director Nicolas de Rivière.

The Libya meeting is an opportunity to discuss how to break the political deadlock in Libya, and to build momentum in support of the efforts of the UN Secretary General and his Special Representative. Helping to bring stability to Libya is a vital part of UK efforts to tackle the threat from terrorism and the issue of illegal migration, which exist in close proximity to Europe.

Speaking ahead of the meetings the Foreign Secretary said:

“I’ve seen firsthand the devastation Hurricane Irma has caused people in the Caribbean. Close coordination with our allies is vital for both the short-term and long-term recovery efforts.”

“Britain will continue to work closely alongside our partners to tackle the shared challenges we face worldwide.”

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The Netherlands to extend involvement in Mali, Iraq and Afghanistan missions

Next year, the Netherlands will continue its active participation in the UN peace mission in Mali, the international anti-ISIS coalition and the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The cabinet has agreed to extend all 3 missions, as affirmed in letters which was sent to parliament on Monday.

In the government’s view the international security situation demands that the Netherlands continue to shoulder its responsibility. Military and civilian contributions to missions focus on the arc of instability around Europe, which has a direct impact on our own security. The chief priorities are to counter terrorism and prevent irregular migration.

The mandates for Dutch participation in MINUSMA in Mali, the anti-ISIS coalition and Resolute Support in Afghanistan all expire at the end of the year. The caretaker government feels obliged to take a decision on this issue because the Netherlands wishes to be a reliable partner for its allies, for planning purposes. It also wants to give members of the armed forces who may be deployed, and their families, as much advance notice as possible. The current decision extends the Dutch contribution to these three missions to the end of 2018.

Through its participation in MINUSMA the Netherlands contributes to stability in Mali and, with it, the wider Sahel region. A stable Sahel is in Europe’s direct interest. As before, next year the Dutch UN troops will focus mainly on gathering and analysing intelligence for the UN mission. The heart of the Dutch contribution will consist of a unit for long-distance reconnaissance with support from national forces. The Netherlands will also provide a number of staff officers, personnel of the Royal Military and Border Police and civilian advisers. With Germany taking over the running of Camp Castor at the end of this year, the number of Dutch troops in the mission can be reduced to a maximum of 250.

By extending its contribution to the international coalition against ISIS, the Netherlands is helping to crush the terrorist organisation’s operational power and undermine its ideological appeal. Around 155 Dutch trainers support and advise the Iraqi armed forces, and from early January four Dutch F-16s will again be deployed to Iraq and eastern Syria. A detachment of around 150 military personnel will also be deployed in support of these aircraft. Defeating ISIS over the long term also involves halting the flow of foreign fighters, shutting off ISIS’s sources of income and refuting the group’s perverse ideology, and the Netherlands will continue its efforts in this regard. Stabilising and rebuilding recaptured areas is also an essential part of this process.

Around 100 soldiers will continue to participate in Resolute Support in Afghanistan. Since 2015, domestic security has been the responsibility of the Afghan government, but for the time being, international involvement remains necessary. The NATO mission focuses on training, advising and assisting the Afghan army and police. Dutch advisers share their knowledge with regard to operational planning, logistics, operational management and gender issues. The medical, transport and security units ensure that the NATO advisers in and around Mazar-e Sharif can continue to do their work. At NATO’s request, the Netherlands will also send a surgical team to Afghanistan in early 2018.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Government of the Netherlands.

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Statement by IMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa at the Conclusion of a Visit to Burkina Faso

  • A new ECF arrangement in support of the country’s economic and social development plan under discussion would aim to balance the scaling up of investment with maintaining macroeconomic stability.
  • Reforms to increase fiscal space would need to be pursued alongside investment scaling up.
  • Lifting growth will also require reforms to enhance governance; boost the economic role of women and support gender equity; and protect the poor.

Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Ouagadougou at the conclusion of his visit to Burkina Faso:

“I wish to thank President Kaboré, Prime Minister Kaba Thiéba, Minister of Economy, Finance and Development Coulibaly Sori, and other senior officials for our productive exchange of views and their warm hospitality during my visit to Ouagadougou. I would also like to express my gratitude to all stakeholders with whom I met, including the Mogho Naba as well as private sector representatives.”

“In my discussions, I expressed my sympathy and regret for the attack at a restaurant in Ouagadougou on August 13 that left eighteen dead and many more wounded and that was subsequently followed by the passing of Dr. Salifou Diallo, President of the National Assembly.”

“I noted that Burkina Faso and the IMF have enjoyed an excellent relationship over a long period of time and that we at the IMF wished for this relationship to continue in the period ahead.”

“I congratulated the authorities on preserving macroeconomic stability during the difficult political transition from 2014–16. I welcomed their determination to speed up development under the 2016-2020 national economic and social development plan (PNDES) and reaffirmed the Fund’s willingness to support their efforts to accelerate sustainable and inclusive growth. A new ECF arrangement in support of the PNDES, already under discussion, would aim to balance the scaling up of investment with maintaining macroeconomic stability, including debt sustainability.”

“I emphasized that reforms to increase fiscal space would need to be pursued alongside investment scaling up. Enhanced revenue mobilization and restraints on the growth of current spending are needed to avoid recourse to excessive borrowing, particularly on the already stretched regional market. Strengthened procedures for project selection and execution would also improve the efficiency of investment spending.”

“I emphasized that lifting growth will also require reforms that complement investment scaling up, including plans to enhance governance; boost the economic role of women and support gender equality; and protect the poor. Recent Fund work has highlighted the benefits of complementing macroeconomic reforms with meaningful measures to protect the poor and to enable people across the income spectrum and women to gainfully participate in economic activity.”

“Finally, I would again like to reiterate the IMF’s strong support for Burkina Faso, and look forward to our continued partnership.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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U.S. Embassy Announces Full Scholarships for Six-Week Leadership Training

The U.S. Embassy in Accra encourages young leaders to apply for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship. The application period is now open and will close at 4 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, October 11, 2017. To apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit https://Yali.State.gov/Washington-Fellowship/apply/. The opportunity is open to all accomplished young African leaders aged 25-35; the Embassy especially encourages applications from women, persons with disabilities, and those living in smaller towns and rural areas.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which was launched by President Barack Obama in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity; strengthen democratic governance; and enhance peace and security across Africa.

In 2018, the Fellowship will provide up to 700 outstanding young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution. Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership institute at a U.S. university or college in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. Institutes will start in mid-June 2018.

Successful applicants will have:

  • A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others.
  • Strong social and communication skills.
  • An energetic, positive attitude.
  • Demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the sector/track selected.
  • A commitment to return home and apply the leadership skills and training to benefit Ghana.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Embassy of the United States – Accra – Ghana.

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