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Archive for December 11th, 2007

Peace Prize winners issue urgent calls for action

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2007

PHOTO: SCANPIX
Declaring that “it’s time to make peace with the planet,” former US vice president Al Gore joined the head of the UN’s panel on climate change in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 in Oslo on Monday. Both men issued more urgent calls for laws and treaties that can help stop global warming.

Both Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…

PHOTO: BJRN SIGURDSN/SCANPIX


…and Al Gore made passionate pleas for world leaders to act now, to halt global warming.

PHOTO: HEIKO JUNGE/SCANPIX

Both Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Gore were met by several standing ovations and extended applause, both before and after they made impassioned pleas for political action on a worldwide basis.

Oslo’s City Hall was packed with government officials, ambassadors, royalty and invited guests, who listened as the Nobel Committee chairman, Ole Danbolt Mjs, said that this year’s choice was not a difficult decision. He linked the threats posed by climate change to the foundations of human stability and peace, noting that droughts, floods and other natural catastrophes tied to climate change threaten resources. That in turn threatens human coping mechanisms, and leads to conflict.

Mjs hailed the IPCC for its efforts to research and document a scientific basis for climate change, calling the panel “extraordinary” and thanking “every individual in the IPCC for their great work.”

He then called Gore “The Great Communicator,” claiming that he is the individual who has done the most to drum up global awareness of the climate change crisis. He praised Gore for his courage and and tireless efforts to spread knowledge of the global warming threat.

“We thank you (both) for all you have done for Mother Earth,” Mjs said, before formally handing over the Nobel Peace Prize’s gold medal and diploma.

Pachauri, accepting the prize on behalf of the UN panel, paid tribute to “all the scientists” and members of the IPCC, and to its earlier leadership. He called the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award them the prize “a clarion call for the protection of the earth.”

Asking rhetorically whether polticians will listen to the voices of the scientists, he said that “if they do, I will feel doubly honoured.”

Gore made an articulate and sometimes emotional call for action as well. “We have the ability to solve this crisis,” he said, deploring how “too many” of the world’s leaders choose to continue to ignore it.

He claimed there is still time to choose the fate of the earth, but noted that it requires political will to do so. He stressed common effort and shared responsibility, and called for a new international treaty on climate change by 2010, two years earlier than now expected.

He repeated calls for an international moratorium on any coal burning plant that lacks carbon recapture technology, and he also for a price on carbon in the form of taxes that would reduce carbon emissions.

And he chided his own homeland, the US, and China, for being the world’s greatest polluters and failing to do enough to cut emissions.

He quoted Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in saying that “the future is knocking on our door,” ending with a plea that “we will rise, and we will act.” And with that, everyone from King Harald to those in the back of the room rose themselves, in ovation.

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.aftenposteneng

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Wade, Mugabe, EPAs, rock EU-Africa summit

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2007

Lisbon (Portugal) Discussions of the second summit of European and African leaders ended in Lisbon on Sunday with the spotlight on the Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade for saying: I am going to oppose these agreementsno African country can endure the lifting of trade barriers and its subsequent adverse effects on African countries budgets.

The first day was marred by serious disputes over the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), illegal immigration, and the situation in Zimbabwe.

I am very pleased that the summit is smoothly unfolding with a good spirit or the Lisbon spirit () to come up with prospective solutions to the vital issues facing Africa and Europe, Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Socrates said at the end of the first day of discussions.

However, this optimism by the EU current chairman contrasts starkly with some of the comments made by participants either during plenary sessions or at news briefings.

In the absence of British Prime Minister Glodon Brown, who has snubbed the summit in opposition to the presence of Robert Mugabe, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel took the lead in flaying the Mugabe regime.

Intimidating Zimbabweans who have different views and infringing on peoples freedoms are baseless, the German chancellor said.

Africas reaction was immediate. The European Union should rather help Zimbabwe get out of this quagmire, hold transparent, free, and democratic elections, instead of imposing sanctions on this country, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade told a news briefing.

Mr. Brown has decided not to attend the Lisbon meeting to protest Mugabes presence. In reaction, African countries have also decided to stand by Zimbabwe, creating two blocs: Europe on one side and Africa on the other, President Wade went on, and saying an issue between two countries turned into a problem between two continents.

The migration issue, which is not included in the three-year plan of action to be adopted by the summit, has been a stumbling block not only between the leaders of the two continents, but also among members of the each of the blocs.

While the president of the Spanish government, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is in favour of a Euro-African pact on migration and development to correct the collective failure, echoing the concerns of President Wade and Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Libyan leader Muammar Kadhafi remained flatly opposed to such a pact.

Colonial powers should compensate the countries they had colonised and the wealth they have been plundering, otherwise, he said during the discussions, you are only inviting us for nothing to your countries.

The AU Commission chairman, Mr. Alpha Oumar Konare, on Saturday urged the European Union to end pressure on African countries during the EPAs negotiations, calling instead for fair agreements.

The EU Commission Chairman, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso also considers that it will be very difficult to reach an agreement on the EPAs, insisting that the negotiations should proceed until 2008.

In addition to these dissensions, civil society organisations through demonstrations and the distribution of leaflets on the sidelines of the summit are putting pressure on Sudan and Zimbabwe to end the crises in Darfur and in Zimbabwe.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.apa

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The Ouagadougou agreement made Ivorians proud in 2007,

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2007

Abidjan (Cote dIvoire) The Ouagadougou political agreement, signed by president Laurent Gbagbo and the former rebel chief Guillaume Soro on 4 March 2007, is certainly the flagship event which renewed hope among Ivorians confronted by a conflict which had divided the country into two since September 2002.

The head of state, whose seat was threatened by external agreements and resolutions including United Nations resolution 1721 adopted on 1 November 2006, suggested an internal solution, a new plan of exit based on a solution between Ivorians.

In a nationwide address on 19 December 2006, Laurent Gbagbo made official his plan to end the crisis with four points, among which the direct dialogue with the New Forces (former rebel group), while rejecting the new UN resolution 1721.

Gbagbo decided to extend the hand of friendship to “armed groups,” to the rebels and called for a “direct dialogue”.

After a series of consultations with the socio-professional strata and the regions of the country from 7 to 17 December 2006, Laurent Gbagbo chose to hold the direct dialogue with his brothers who took up arms” in order to solve the Ivorian crisis.

He was not looking for a go-between but a facilitator.

The content and conditions of this direct dialogue will be later defined and be fully entered in February 2007 in Ouagadougou, the country of the facilitator and current ECOWAS chairman, President Blaise Compaore.

During one month, the presidential camp and the New Forces held discussions which ended in a consensus conveyed in the 4 March 2007 Ouagadougou agreement that Gbagbo and Soro signed.

“I observe with pleasure that so far members of the New Forces did not make any hostile utterances nor adopted any adverse behaviour since I announced my plan to end the crisis on 19 December (…). I congratulate the members of both Ivorian parties for backing up the hope of an impending peace… It is a ground for pride for Cote dIvoire,” Laurent Gbagbo noted in a speech to the nation on 9 March, a few days after signing the Ouagadougou agreement.

This agreement, which appointed rebel head Guillaume Soro as Prime Minister to replace Charles Konan Banny, is being implemented even though there are some delays, due partly to financial means but also to the political difficulties which prevented the protagonists from getting straight certain points of the agreement.

Unforeseen events also jammed the process, particularly the 29 June 2007 attack against the Prime Minister in Bouake (centre).

As a whole, this agreement which Ivorians and the international community adhered to through the July 2007 UN resolution 1765 seems to be irreversible in its application.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.apa

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Over 8,000 Cameroonians seeks refuge at embassies in Malabo, Bata

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2007

Douala (Cameroon) Over 8,000 Cameroonians have found refuge at their countrys embassy in Malabo and the consulate in Bata (Equatorial Guinea), after their compatriots were accused of vandalising two banks, diplomatic sources revealed.

The Cameroonian diplomatic representations in Equatorial Guinea confirmed the news, saying some 5,000 Cameroonians have taken refuge in the Bata consulate while 3,000 others stormed the Malabo-based embassy.

“There is a fierce manhunt against foreigners, especially Cameroonians,” diplomatic sources revealed here.

We are doing our best to give them food, but as you can guess, we are increasingly overwhelmed by the crowd,” the source added.

In an official statement issued Monday morning, the Cameroonian government also confirmed the happenings, saying “measures are underway to end the situation.”

The statement deplored the “injustice” against Cameroonians, saying “reliable reports indicate that inquiries are yet to confirm that the Cameroonians vandalised the two Equatorial Guinean banks.”

Last Tuesday, robbers held up two Bata-based Equatorial Guinean banks Socit gnrale de banque de Guine quatoriale (SGBGE) and CEE Bank.

While the ongoing probes were yet to expose the perpetrators, a local radio station hurried to blame foreigners, pointing an accusing finger at the Cameroonians.

The claims triggered a rising tension between the people of both countries, with irate crowds attacking Equatorial Guinean students at the campus of south-western Cameroonian University of Buea in retaliation, forcing them to seek refuge in their Douala-based consulate.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.apa

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Cameroon to repatriate its nationals from Equatorial Guinea

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2007

Douala (Cameroon) The Cameroonian government announced that a military aircraft will be sent to Equatorial Guinea in order to repatriate some 8000 of its nationals who took refuge at their embassy and the consulate in Malabo and Bata, following a manhunt against them, APA learnt from official sources.

This manhunt follows the hold-up of two Equatorial Guinean banks last Tuesday. Bata inhabitants accused Cameroonian nationals of being responsible for the robbery and abused them, forcing them to take refuge in the Cameroonian embassy.

A Cameroonian government release said “unrest has been noted for some time in the relations between Cameroon and equatorial Guinea”.

Apart from the “Hercules 230” plane, Cameroonian authorities said drugs and material assistance will be conveyed to help their nationals. The repatriation option comes six days after the arrests of some Cameroonians.

According to testimonies APA collected, apart from the 8000 at the embassy and the consulate, “many other Cameroonians are kept in police stations,” a consular source in Bata said.

The government which is yet to take a position is “waiting for the outcome of the investigations”, however it deplored that the culprits were detained while the investigation is still on.

Some Cameroonians started to go home since last weekend. Tens of them are seen in Douala, Limbe and in Kyo-Issi.

They said the police abused foreigners in general, especially Cameroonians.

An Equatorial Guinean radio said the hold-up was committed mainly by Cameroonians, testimonies confirmed.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.apa

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