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Archive for December 8th, 2007

Posted by African Press International on December 8, 2007

Yaound (Cameroon) The group of ambassadors from the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) in Cameroon on Friday launched a campaign to back the election of the Gabonese Jean Ping to lead the African Union Commission (AU), APA has learnt.

When meeting the press, the diplomats from the sub-regions 16 countries introduced Mr Ping, who is also Gabons Vice-Prime Minister tasked with Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, Francophonie and Regional Integration as “the right man for the post”.

“As a holder of a postgraduate PhD in economic sciences, his career profile seems right to proceed and speed up the setting up of the dynamic and courageous reforms the continent needs”, Gabons ambassador in Cameroon Michel Madoungou said.

As for Congo Brazzavilles ambassador, Eric Epeny-Obondzo, Jean Ping wishes the AU to be equipped with subsequent means, true economic programme based on good governance, release of initiatives, respect of rule of law, exploitation of indigenous knowledge, mobilisation of internal resources and valorisation of the rich African cultural patrimony”.

The group of ambassadors from the CEEAC also announced lobbying operation all over the continents other sub-regions with an eye to gaining a greater membership to the candidacy of Mr. Ping, who is himself touring across the continent.

As a former chairman of the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Jean Ping was introduced by the CEEAC as the right man.

The unanimity ushered in on 30 October in Brazzaville by the 13th conference of the sub-regions heads of state and government behind the Gabonese candidate could crack down with the announcement of another candidacy within the CEEAC area from Burundi.

“We hope that arrangements will be made before the election slated for next January in Addis-Ababa”, the officer responsible for African Union affairs at the Cameroonian Foreign Relations ministry, Chantal Mfoula.

Published by Korir, API/APN source.apa

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Ethiopian troops withdraw from a residential area of Somali capital

Posted by African Press International on December 8, 2007

Mogadishu (Somalia) Ethiopian troops have withdrawn from a key road and residential areas in south Mogadishu early on Saturday, where the troops and their tanks have been posted for a month, residents said.

The troops have deserted the Sodonka road, which was known with a lot of business activities. The troops could be seen going back to their military bases in the city, said a resident Hashi Muhudiin.

The troops moved into these residential areas early November, following heavy fighting which started when the troops tried to retrieve the body of one of their soldiers killed and dragged into the streets by insurgents.

More than 100 people mainly, civilians were killed during the fighting, some of them found beheaded, hundreds wounded and thousands forced to flee for safety.

Since then the area has been scary and empty, with hardly anything moving apart from military tanks and armored vehicles.

Most of the business centers and stores along the road were ransacked and the properties worth millions of dollars stolen, said a businessman Mohamed Osman Africa.

After the departure of the Ethiopians, hundreds of people moved into the area to check the situation and take care of their houses and the properties left behind.

I am very happy that the Ethiopians have left and now I am now thinking about how I would get my children back, said Aden Mohamud, adding; the real happiness would come once they withdraw entirely from Somalia.

The reason for the withdrawal of the troops is yet unclear but there have been calls from rights groups asking the troops to vacate the civilians areas.

Published by Korir, API/APN source.apa

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Mauritius trade unionists decry repressive labour laws

Posted by African Press International on December 8, 2007

Port Louis (Mauritius) Three local trade union confederations, namely the National Trade Union Council (NTUC), the Mauritius Labour Congress (MLC) and the Mauritius Trade Union Congress (MTUC) on Friday jointly sent a protest letter to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland to denounce violations of trade union rights by the government of Mauritius.

Meeting journalists Saturday morning at the seat of the NTUC in the capital, Port Louis, the presidents of the three confederations, Toolsyraj Benydin, Cassam Kureeman and Radhakrishna Sadien respectively explained that they have informed the ILO that the situation has changed dramatically in the country with the result that peaceful marches and demonstrations are becoming the object of criminal prosecutions.

In their letter, they averred that in applying repressive laws like the Public Gathering Act (PGA), the government of Mauritius has embarked on a sinister campaign to intimidate, suppress and silence the trade union movement and deter workers from fighting for their legitimate rights

Toolsyraj Benydin indicated that according to the provisions of the PGA, anybody who wishes to hold a demonstration should first give reasons for such an action and should hold a permit from the police. Most of the time, he stated, permission is not granted.

Banydin and Sadien are being dragged to court for having organized a demonstration against the closure of the police mechanical garage last June and their risk of prison terms.

Sadien pointed out that the action of the government in using the PGA to prosecute trade unionists is in contradiction to the ILO Convention No 87 which the Mauritian government has ratified and which guarantees the right to organize peaceful demonstrations.

He explained that this is one of the most repressive acts that the local parliament has voted and it should be immediately revoked, adding that the PGA is being used to negate workers rights and repress lawful trade union actions.

Published by Korir, API/APN source.apa

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Delegation visiting Darfur

Posted by African Press International on December 8, 2007

Washington DC- (USA) The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro is heading a UN delegation to this weekends African Union-European Union summit in Lisbon amid mounting international concern about the obstacles to deploying a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force to the war-wracked Darfur region of Sudan, APA has learnt.

Ms. Migiro will be joined in the Portuguese capital by the UN High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Countries and Small Island Developing States, Cheick Sidi Diarra, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet and the Deputy Chef de Cabinet, Kim Won-Soo.

Mr. Mulet and Mr. Kim are scheduled to meet with the Sudanese delegation attending the summit on issues relating to the deployment of the hybrid force, known as UNAMID, to try to quell the fighting between rebels, government forces and allied militias that has left at least 200,000 people dead and more than 2.2 million others displaced since 2003.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Thursday that the UN officials will be holding the meetings on the sidelines of the summit to try to resolve the issue of the composition of UNAMID and other issues concerning its deployment.

We must absolutely have an effective, robust force, Mr. Ban said. Without it, there can be no security, nor credible progress in the peace talks. Rebel leaders will simply not join the process without an effective peacekeeping force in place.

UNAMID is due to take over from the existing but under-resourced AU mission (known as AMIS) by the start of next month, but it lacks offers for crucial force units and the Sudanese government has raised a series of objections and obstacles.

The mission is short of one heavy and one medium transport unit, three military utility aviation units and one light helicopter unit, while an earlier pledge for one reconnaissance company has been withdrawn.

Mr. Ban said that, despite bilateral talks in person or by telephone with all possible potential contributor countries, I have not been able to get even one single helicopter commitment. We need, at this time, 24 helicopters three tactical helicopter units and one light tactical helicopter unit.

Acknowledging that many potential contributing countries are overstretched in their critical military assets, he warned that nevertheless the entire mission is at risk from the lack of key capabilities.

The UN chief also noted that his Special Envoy on Darfur, Mr. Jan Eliasson, is considering holding a major meeting among the regions rebel movements to help them find a common negotiating position and team up for planned direct talks in Sirte, Libya, between the government and the rebels to solve the conflict.

Published by Korir, API/APN, source.apa

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