Oct 132014

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur welcomed a community-based strategic plan to end the use of children as fighters in inter and intra ethnic clashes initiated by Sheikh Musa Hilal and endorsed by leaders from the Abbala, Beni Hussein, Fur, Tamma, Gimir and Awalad Janoub tribes in Kabkabiya, El Sereif, Saraf Umra, Al Waha and Jebel Si localities in North Darfur.

Sheikh Hilal previously issued a command order on 26 July 2013 to the members of the communities under his leadership to prohibit the use of children as fighters. In the order, apart from the recruitment and use of child soldiers, he condemned sexual violence against children, abduction, killing and maiming of children and attacks against schools and hospitals. He assured his full commitment and adherence to international norms and standards protecting children in situations of armed conflict.

The strategic plan establishes an implementation follow-up committee not only to raise awareness about the negative impact of using children as soldiers but also to identify children who have served as fighters in past ethnic conflicts and to work with relevant organisations to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society including through access to education and vocational training skills.

UNAMID expects that the successful implementation of the plan will serve as a platform to foster relations between communities, contribute to ending tribal clashes and enhance the protection of children. The Mission applauds the progress made in Darfur through promoting the local ownership of the protection of children agenda.

“We are glad to witness that communities are taking the lead role in protecting children who are the future of Sudan. UNAMID will continue to support on-going efforts to rid Darfur of child soldiering and other grave violations against children,” said UNAMID Acting Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator a.i., Abiodun Bashua.

Since 2009, six parties to the conflict in Darfur have established action plans to end recruitment and use of child soldiers, and nine have issued command orders prohibiting the practice. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 former child soldiers have been registered to benefit from reintegration programs with the support of Sudan’s Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, UNICEF and UNAMID.

Oct 132014

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has today welcomed back Guinea and Madagascar as Members of the Organization. Their readmission at the opening session of IPU’s 131st Assembly in Geneva increases IPU membership to 166 national parliaments.

Guinea had previously been an IPU Member between 1996-2007 and 2008-2009. Both departures from the Organization were due to the political instability in the West African country – the last one in 2009 following the dissolution of the National Assembly by a military coup in December 2008.

Parliamentary elections in September 2013, the first since 2002, have paved the way for Guinea’s re-affiliation to IPU.

Similarly, Madagascar had held IPU membership twice before – between 1978-1991 and 2005-2009, losing it due to a military coup in 2009. Following elections for a new parliament late last year, the Indian Ocean island-nation convened a new National Assembly in February 2014.

“We welcome back Guinea and Madagascar to IPU. It is a decision that acknowledges the progress both countries have made in restoring critical foundations for democracy in their respective societies,” said IPU President Abdelwahad Radi.

More than 720 MPs from 145 countries, including an unprecedented 113 Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament are attending the 131st IPU Assembly, which concludes on 16th October.

IPU Members will tackle a wide range of issues of global concern, including ending violence against women, the situation in the Middle East, water governance, coherent policies on drugs, sustainable development and climate change.

Members will decide late on Monday 13th on the issue which will be the focus of an emergency debate and resolution later in the week. Proposals include fighting terrorism and extremism, protecting the rights of the Palestinian people, addressing sovereign debt crises, combating human trafficking and responding to the Ebola crisis.

A new president of the Organization will also be elected on 16th October to take over from former Moroccan Speaker of Parliament, Abdelwahad Radi, who ends a three-year mandate.

Oct 132014

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns the attempted murder of senior Somali journalist and renowned TV personality on Sunday, October 12.

Abdirisak Jama Elmi (Black), director of Somali Channel TV office in Mogadishu, was attacked when he was leaving his house in Howl-Wadag district. The TV journalist was hit by three bullets at the back and stomach, and is receiving treatment at Mogadishu’s Madina hospital.

“This is yet another disgraceful attack on freedom of expression in Somalia. However, such attacks will not deter Somali journalists from pursuing their journalism mission,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

Despite repeated calls to ensure safety and security for journalists, violent attacks, threats, arrests and intimidations against journalists continue.

“The government must act swiftly and decisively in this and all cases that have been building up for years in Somalia. Full prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes is the only answer to reversing this history of impunity,” asserted Osman.

Oct 132014

CAIRO, Egypt, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Cairo, 12 October 2014

Assalaam alaikum. Good afternoon.

Since I am leaving shortly for Israel and Palestine, I wanted to have this chance to share a few words about the Gaza reconstruction conference.

I would like to highlight three quick points.

First, today the international community clearly recognized the massive needs in Gaza – and is underscoring its commitment to act in a massive way.

Second, there was a universal understanding that Gaza cannot be rebuilt on a weak political foundation. That is why the United Nations will continue to support the Government of National Consensus. The recent unity government cabinet meeting in Gaza is a good sign of progress that must continue.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, as I said this morning, this must be the last Gaza reconstruction conference. The cycle of building and destroying must end. Donors may be fatigued – but the people of Gaza are bruised and bloody. Enough is enough.

It is time to chart a course to a just and final peace between Israelis and Palestinians – one that addresses all the outstanding issues.

As a part of this effort to look ahead and build a better future, I believe it is important to be on the ground. That is why I am announcing today that I will visit Gaza on Tuesday to listen directly to the people of Gaza, survey the situation for myself and help advance our reconstruction efforts.

Finally, let me just say a few words about my visit yesterday to Libya.

I went to Libya to show my commitment to the people and the political process that is underway.

The situation is extremely fragile. I was joined by the Italian Foreign Minister and as well as special envoys from a number of other countries. We went to lend our collective and full support to the effort to bridge the political divides – build robust and inclusive institutions – and, of course, end the fighting.

The future of Libya hangs in the balance – with all its implications not only for the Libyan people but the wider region as a whole.

I told Libyan leaders that the United Nations stands with them in their pursuit of peace, development and human rights. Dialogue is the only way to end the suffering, restore stability and build a better future for the people of Libya.

But violent confrontations must cease immediately or that better future will be a distant dream.

Finally, I want to reiterate my great concern over the situation in and around the Syrian city of Kobane. With the continuing attacks by ISIL or Daesh, thousands of lives are at stake.

I once again call on all parties that can act to step up to prevent a massacre and protect civilians in Kobane.

With those brief remarks, I am ready to take a couple of questions.

Thank you.

Oct 132014

CONAKRY, Guinea, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -It is a great pleasure to welcome President Condé to the IMF.

Our discussion focused on how we can help Guinea respond to the devastating Ebola outbreak, a disease that poses a humanitarian and economic challenge to Guinea and its neighbors. Beyond the loss of life and social dislocation, it is threatening to reverse the advances made by these countries in recent years in economic development and poverty reduction. We all recognize that we have act decisively and urgently to stop this epidemic.

On behalf of the Fund, my main message today to President Condé and to the people of Guinea is that we stand with you in these times of trial. We have already provided $41 million to Guinea on an emergency basis. We are ready to do more if needed. And I appreciate all that President Condé is doing for his country and people.

We will continue to stand by Guinea and the Guinean people.

Oct 112014

Plano, TX, October 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Rovia™ (http://www.rovia.com) has been recognized as “Asia’s Leading Online Travel Agency” for 2014 by the World Travel Awards program (WTA). The World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony was held in New Delhi at The Oberoi on Friday, October 10 with hundreds of tourism professionals in attendance.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/1410112.jpg

Rovia is no stranger to the World Travel Awards, having received two nominations last year. Rovia is a leading provider of curated group travel experiences, annually producing and managing hundreds of distinct pre-packaged travel experiences for small and large groups.

“Being named ‘Asia’s Leading Online Travel Agency’ for 2014 is an honor,” Rovia President Mike Putman said. “It’s great to be acknowledged this year by our international peers as a leader in our industry. We strive to provide exceptional customer service and a unique product, so to be recognized by travel professionals and customers around the world is gratifying.”

The World Travel Awards program, celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, recognizes brands that push the boundaries of industry excellence. The program is highly comprehensive, honoring several industry segments such as “Airlines and Airports,” “Hotels and Resorts,” “Meetings and Conventions” and “Travel Technology.”

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

For inquiries, contact:

Laura Wards

Email: press@rovia.com

About Rovia: Rovia (http://www.rovia.com) is an award-winning online travel company with offices in South Carolina and Texas. With almost 30 years of experience in the travel industry, Rovia is quickly becoming the largest provider of curated group travel experiences in the world. The company annually produces and manages hundreds of unique pre-packaged experiences for groups numbering from a few dozen to a few thousand.

Oct 112014

Plano, TX, October 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — DreamTrips™ vacation club (https://www.dreamtrips.com), one of the world’s leading travel and vacation club membership organizations, was recognized as “Asia’s Leading Travel Club” for 2014 as part of the World Travel Awards (WTA)—the third WTA regional award for the travel club this year. The World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony was held in New Delhi, India’s capital city, at The Oberoi, New Delhi on Friday, October 10 with hundreds of tourism professionals in attendance.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/141011.jpg

The award acknowledges the DreamTrips (https://www.dreamtrips.com/experience-more) commitment to excellence in Asia within the past year. Industry leaders recognized DreamTrips for exceptional service and product offerings. Nominees in other Asia travel categories included Royal Caribbean International, the Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore, Abercrombie & Kent and American Express.

“This is an exciting time as DreamTrips receives its third regional World Travel Award,” WorldVentures Co-Founder and CEO Mike Azcue said. “Together with Rovia, our travel agency partner, we are committed to providing fun and fulfilling travel experiences to our members worldwide. We appreciate being recognized by our peers as an international leader in the travel industry.”

Since 1993, WTA has acknowledged and celebrated excellence across all sectors of the global tourism industry. Last year, DreamTrips was named “World’s Leading Travel Club” at the 2013 WTA Grand Finals. The annual Grand Tour visited Dubai, Greece and Ecuador earlier this year, and will arrive in Morocco for the Grand Finals in November.

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

For inquiries, contact:

Laura Wards

Email: press@worldventures.com

About DreamTrips

DreamTrips delivers high-quality, one-of-a-kind curated travel and vacation experiences to its vacation club members. More information can be found at


About World Travel Awards

The World Travel Awards was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the global travel and tourism industry. Now celebrating its 21st anniversary, it is regarded as the highest achievement a travel product or service could hope to receive. More information can be found at http://www.worldtravelawards.com.

Oct 102014

NEW YORK, October 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Bonjour,

Je suis ravi d’être de retour en Tunisie. Je remercie le Gouvernement et le peuple tunisiens de leur accueil chaleureux.

Le Président et moi-même venons de tenir une réunion très productive. J’ai salué la façon dont il dirige le pays, sans transiger sur les principes, en cette période critique de l’histoire de la Tunisie.

Les élections marqueront une étape importante dans la démocratisation de la Tunisie. L’Organisation des Nations Unies fera tout son possible pour veiller à ce qu’elles soient ouvertes à tous, transparentes et pacifiques. J’engage tous les Tunisiens

à exercer leur droit de citoyen en allant voter.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

President Marzouki and I discussed what more the United Nations can do for Tunisia. We also addressed the many challenges ahead. Tunisia deserves the international community’s full support as it works to solidify its democracy, create jobs and achieve economic growth.

The President and I are both deeply concerned about the situation in Libya. I thanked the President for supporting United Nations efforts to facilitate a political dialogue. We discussed how we can better cooperate to advance progress.

Tunisia is an important country for the region, the United Nations and the world.

Tunisia raised hopes across North Africa, the Middle East and the globe when the Arab Spring was born here. And Tunisia has risen to high expectations by staying true to its ideals. Here we see that with integrity, leadership, civic engagement and commitment, peaceful revolution leads to promising stability.

The United Nations has been Tunisia’s proud partner on this journey. Your values of democracy, freedom and human rights are our values. We have actively supported the democratic transition with technical assistance on elections, transitional justice and Tunisia’s extremely valuable Constitution.

I applaud the Tunisian Government and people for the great success you have achieved. Tunisians have shown the power of inclusive national dialogue. This is an important example for countries of this region. When leaders listen to their people, respond to their needs and work for their aspirations, countries enjoy peace and prosperity.

The United Nations will remain at Tunisia’s side as you continue to build on your many impressive accomplishments.

Thank you.

Oct 102014

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, October 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will sign today the National Indicative Programmes (NIP) for development cooperation with Belize, Lesotho, Togo and Zambia in the 2014-2020 period, which amount to €869 million. The signing ceremony with representatives of those countries will take place in the margins of the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington. Commissioner Piebalgs said: “The programmes that we will sign are the fruit of close cooperation with the four partner countries and reflect their own policies, strategies, and needs as they have defined them. I am particularly pleased to see that energy and governance are key priorities for these countries, as clear drivers for sustainable development and growth. Our support will target EU resources where they are most needed and most effective.”

Oct 102014

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Comorian Foreign and Cooperation Ministry and the ICRC have signed an agreement on humanitarian work for detainees. The agreement, which was signed in Moroni on 10 October,…