APO News from Africa:
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was in Ethiopia on 16 March as part of a three-day tour of east Africa. He met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Foreign Minister Workneh and discussed regional security and expanding cooperation in areas such as migration, development, investment and trade.
Mr Johnson told the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister there was much the two countries agreed on and great potential to deepen the relationship further. He hoped that progress could be made on the issues important to both countries to allow that potential to be realised. He also raised the case of Andargachew Tsege and discussed the importance of ensuring fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression.
At Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, the Foreign Secretary saw the benefits that both countries are already experiencing from the growing trade relationship. Ethiopia’s flag carrier uses Airbus 350s that are designed in the UK, have UK manufactured wings and are powered by British Rolls Royce engines.
He also went for a run with double-Olympic champion Haile Gebrselasse, one of the organisers of the Great Ethiopian Run, which is modelled on the UK’s Great North Run.
At the end of his visit the Foreign Secretary said: On my first visit to Ethiopia I have been excited to see great examples of the ever increasing cooperation between our two countries. From Ethiopian Airlines, where British technical and engineering expertise is helping an African business to grow and prosper, to our growing cultural links typified by the Great Ethiopian Run. Together the UK and Ethiopia can work to make our countries and the region stronger, safer and more prosperous, from combating the devastating drought to enhancing security for people in neighbouring Somalia. We have much that unites us and I look forward to continuing and strengthening this relationship in the years to come.
Distributed by APO on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Belgium is deeply concerned with the disappearance of two members of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and of four Congolese support staff, last weekend in Kasai Central province. Five days after they were reported missing, Belgium calls on the Congolese authorities to use all possible means, with the support of MONUSCO, to find these persons.
Belgium expresses its appreciation for the Group of Experts for the important monitoring and investigation work carried out under difficult conditions and welcomes the work of the experts Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán in carrying out their United Nations Security Council mandate. Their disappearance is a serious blow to the efforts of the international community to bring back peace and stability in the DRC.
Belgium is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the DRC, particularly in the Kasai region. There are reports of massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the region, including the disproportionate use of force, arbitrary executions and the discovery of mass graves. Belgium pleads, together with its European partners, for an international and independent investigation, in addition to and in support of national efforts.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium – Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.
The head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, has told the African Union in Addis Ababa that the situation in the country continues to deteriorate and generate profound human suffering in which local and ethnic divisions have been exploited for political ends.
Addressing an AU Peace and Security Council meeting on South Sudan on Friday in Addis Ababa, Mr Shearer said that “conflict is apparent across the country.”
In recent weeks there has been an escalation of fighting in Equatoria and Upper Nile regions. Both have led to significant and additional displacement of civilians.
Meanwhile, he added that new armed groups and actors are emerging leaving South Sudan deeply divided. He said a “circuit breaker is desperately needed.”
He reiterated that access denials to both humanitarian organisations and the UN mission, UNMISS, even in the face of such enormous suffering are continuing.
And he described as “alarming” the lack of any response from South Sudanese leaders of all sides to the plight of their people.
He urged the international community to speak with one voice, to help create the political will for the parties to cease hostilities and build peace.
“Standing together is the only way to move forward,” he said.
Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).