U.S. and Ghana partner to Build Capable and Resilient Security and Justice Sector Institutions

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of the United States - Accra - Ghana

The United States and Ghana continue bilateral efforts in the areas of border, maritime, police peacekeeping, cyber security, and the administration of justice to build capable and resilient security and justice sector institutions.  Three high-level officials – U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Kirsten Madison, the U.S. Government’s Security Governance Initiative (SGI) Ghana Head of Delegation Ambassador Michael Arietti, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Assistant Commissioner Erik Moncayo – visited Accra from January 19-23, 2020.  During their visit, the three officials joined U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S. Sullivan in multiple bilateral engagements in the security sphere.

On Wednesday, January 22, the U.S. officials joined Ghanaian Minister of Defense Dominic Nitiwul and National Security Coordinator Joshua Kyeremeh to inaugurate the National Border Fusion Center and attend the 6th SGI Steering Committee Meeting.

The National Border Fusion Center will serve as an information-sharing hub for border security to facilitate informed, rapid decision-making. This is one of many collaborations under SGI.  In her remarks, Assistant Secretary Madison underlined the value of this bilateral effort: “With shared common values, our partnership and cooperation are underpinned by our joint commitment to strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law.”  Assistant Secretary Madison also reaffirmed the U.S. government’s support by announcing an additional $3 million in U.S. foreign assistance funding to continue efforts to improve the capacity of law enforcement, promote the rule of law and the administration of justice, and combat transnational financial crime.

The 6th SGI Steering Committee Meeting took place at the West Africa Regional Training Center in Accra.  The senior Ghanaian and U.S. officials emphasized both countries’ commitment to improving security sector governance in Ghana.  In his remarks, Ambassador Arietti noted that “Ghana’s long-standing partnership with the United States, coupled with a shared belief in the value of strong security institutions, has enabled a smooth and productive partnership under SGI,” and encouraged the SGI Steering Committee to continue to focus on implementation.

SGI is a partnership between the Government of Ghana and the United States aimed at improving the effectiveness of Ghana’s security sector and enabling the conditions for national prosperity.  Under SGI, the United States has provided more than $35 million to strengthen border, maritime, and cyber security, as well as to improve the administration of justice.  These efforts have included technical assistance, study visits to the United States and Kenya, trainings and workshops at the strategic and operational levels, and material support.

On Tuesday, January 21, Assistant Secretary Madison and Ambassador Arietti paid visits to the Minister of National Security Albert Kan-Dapaah to discuss bilateral efforts to advance mutual priorities in the law enforcement and security sectors.

On Thursday, January 23, Assistant Secretary Madison met Inspector-General of Police James Oppong-Boanuh and Ghana Police Service (GPS) International Relations Directorate (IRD) Director Baba Saanid Adamu.  In these meetings, Assistant Secretary Madison discussed continued U.S. assistance through the International Police Peacekeeping Operation Support program which to date has trained over 1,400 personnel from eight deployed Formed Police Units to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, as well as mechanics and police trainers.

The visit underscored the U.S. Government’s commitment to partnering with Ghana to strengthen security and justice sector institutions to the benefit and prosperity of the Ghanaian people.

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

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Intensifying cooperation on Libya – Maas visits Algiers and Tunis

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Germany - Federal Foreign Office

Following the Berlin Libya Conference, the priority now is to implement the decisions adopted there. To achieve this, it is important to involve Libya’s neighbouring countries and the region. That is why Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is travelling to Algeria and Tunisia.

It is less than a week since the Berlin Libya Conference took place, but a great deal has already happened. On Monday (20 January), the EU Foreign Ministers discussed the outcomes of the conference and possible ways for the EU to help implement them. The following day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres presented the conference decisions in the UN Security Council. The 5+5 Committee aimed at consolidating a ceasefire between the parties to the conflict is due to meet for the first time in the coming days under the chairmanship of the UN Special Representative for Libya. What still needs to be done is to involve Libya’s neighbours and regional partners. Foreign Minister Maas is visiting Algiers and Tunis today to this end. Prior to his departure, he issued the following statement:

“Many more obstacles lie ahead of us on the path towards a political process. It is therefore all the more important that we lose no time in implementing the process and make use of the momentum that has been generated. In Algiers today I will speak with Libya’s neighbouring countries about how we can join forces to bring about a peaceful solution to the Libya conflict.”

Threat to a fragile region

At the conference in Algiers, Maas wants to present the decisions adopted at the Berlin Libya Conference and to seek active support on the part of neighbouring countries for the UN’s endeavours to bring about a Libyan‑owned peace process. Further destabilisation of Libya also affects the already fragile situation in the entire Sahel region, which is suffering as a result of the activities of Islamist terror organisations.

Neighbours and mediators

The Algerian Government is hosting a regional summit on Libya in the Algerian capital Algiers for the neighbouring countries. Algeria has also been an important mediator in the region in the past. One reason why it is particularly active in its regional initiative on Libya is because it shares a land border of almost 1000 kilometres with the country. The instability in Libya has an impact on Algeria, whose government faces significant domestic challenges in addition to the tensions in the region.

Foreign Minister Maas will discuss the situation in Algeria with his Algerian counterpart Sabri Boukadoum. The country has experienced months of mass protests, with no change in this situation since the presidential elections in December 2019.

Neighbours and partners in the Security Council

Foreign Minister Maas will discuss the follow‑up process for the Berlin Libya Conference with Tunisia’s acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Sabri Bachtobji. The German Government sees Tunisia’s inclusion in the Berlin Process as crucial for the further implementation of the decisions adopted in Berlin. Tunisia borders Libya and has been a non‑permanent member of the UN Security Council since the start of 2020.

Maas has invited his counterparts to Germany for the first meeting of the Berlin Libya Conference International Follow Up Committee in February.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Germany – Federal Foreign Office.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs meets with Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, Moroccans residing abroad in Rabat

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of Bahrain

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, met in Rabat today, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans residing abroad, Mr. Nasser Bourita, in the brotherly Kingdom of Morocco.

Mr. Nasser Bourita welcomed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, stressing the strength of the close and exceptional brotherly relations between the two countries and their continues joint coordination towards arab, regional and international issues, expressing his appreciation for the solid stances and support of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Morocco, adding the important role of the Kingdom of Bahrain in establishing security and stability in the whole region.

For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed Bahrain’s pride in the deep historical brotherly relations with the Kingdom of Morocco, which are based on a long history and characterized by continuous development, progress and a constant desire to move in various fields of bilateral cooperation to broader horizons, in light of the great attention these relations receive from His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the King of the Country, and his brother, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of the Kingdom of Morocco. 

During the meeting, consultations, discussions and coordination took place on the most important developments in the region.

In statements to the media after the meeting, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa stressed the Kingdom's solid position and support for the brotherly Kingdom of Morocco and its initiative for autonomy in the Moroccan Sahara within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty, the unity of Moroccan soil, and according to international legitimacy, noting that the Kingdom of Morocco is a historical kingdom that has always ruled the Sahara.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs praised the historical role played by the Kingdom of Morocco in advocating and defending Arab and Islamic issues in international forums, and its constructive and tangible contributions in support of efforts aimed at establishing peace and stability, in addition to promoting development and progress in the African continent.

For his part, Mr. Nasser Bourita said that this meeting falls within the framework of continues communication and consultation between the two brotherly countries on bilateral and regional issues, stressing the compatibility of the two countries' views on these issues, once again the solidarity of the Kingdom of Morocco with the Kingdom of Bahrain on all issues. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of Bahrain.

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2020 Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) launched

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

OCHA Sudan
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The 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) partners plan to support 6.1 million of the most vulnerable people in Sudan, which will require US$1.4 billion. Due to the current fragile economy, more people are unable to meet their basic needs, as high inflation continues to erode households’ purchasing power. An average local food basket takes up at least 75 per cent of household income. Families cannot afford a nutritious meal – let alone other essential needs such as medical care, water, and education. With fewer resources, people adopt negative coping mechanisms, exposing them to more protection risks—particularly gender-based violence and increasing school dropout and child labour. The economic crisis has overwhelmed already-weak public services, further deepening humanitarian need in the central and eastern parts of Sudan, where humanitarian partners have a limited presence. The 2020 HRP will scale up assistance in these areas. However, humanitarian response alone is not enough to reduce needs, vulnerability and risks; longer-term action is also urgently needed. The UN and partners are committed to work closely with the Government and the people of Sudan to create a strong foundation for Sudan that realizes the hope and aspirations of the Sudanese people.

Donors show strong international support for Sudan in 2020 On 17 January, at a High-Level Roundtable in London co-hosted by the UK, Sweden, OCHA and with participation of the Sudanese Government, 19 international donors affirmed the importance of scaling up humanitarian assistance to Sudan in 2020 and providing resources early in the year. The participants emphasized the importance of providing funding effectively, including through multi-year and flexible support modalities. Sudan also received assurances from the UN and NGOs to step up response to address the country's urgent humanitarian needs.

For a link to the full 2020 Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) document click here

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of OCHA Sudan.
Source: Apo-Opa

Chinese Embassy in Tanzania Held a Round-table to Enhance Cooperation With Major Tanzanian Media

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United Republic of Tanzania
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The Chinese Embassy in Tanzania held a Media Round-table at the Embassy on 20 January 2020 to enhance its cooperation with major Tanzanian media agencies. The Round-table was attended by H.E. Wang Ke, Ambassador of China to Tanzania, Dr Hassan Abbasi, Chief Government Spokesperson and Director of Tanzania Information Services Department (Maelezo), and some 20 media representatives. 

Topics discussed in the Round-table include China's development achievements and experience, China-Tanzania relations and media's role in promoting China-Tanzania friendship and cooperation.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Republic of Tanzania.
Source: Apo-Opa

Winning community trust in Ebola control

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

World Health Organization (WHO)
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“Why is Ebola taking so long to end?” a fierce-looking man in a community meeting outside Butembo town in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) wants to know.

Listening to community concerns such as these, Hamadou Boiro, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) social anthropologists team leader, responds concisely: “It’s because there are some in your community who refuse to believe that Ebola exists and refuse to seek treatment.”

Lingering distrust and doubts

Since the outbreak was declared in August 2018, response teams have faced difficulties in their efforts to bring the epidemic under control. In 2019, WHO recorded around 390 attacks on health care facilities. The attacks killed 11 and injured 83 health workers.

In February 2019, Ebola treatment centres in Butembo and Katwa towns were twice set ablaze, and in March, both were burned to the ground. Richard Mouzoko, a doctor working for the WHO, was attacked and killed in April during a meeting at Butembo University Hospital.

These attacks have often severely curtailed operations, allowing Ebola to flare up. Recent armed attacks in Beni, Biakato and Mangina threaten the efforts made to control the spread of the virus in the hotspots.

Incidents arising from community reluctance to Ebola response peaked in June 2019 when 371 incidents were recorded. A community engagement survey revealed a significant lack of trust in the responders: around 36% of respondents trusted the Ebola responders; a third denied the existence of Ebola and another 30% did not know about the disease. Some 33% believed rumours around the Ebola vaccine.

More than 80% of the respondents had heard rumours about Ebola treatment centres, and many people said they were scared of dying there.

Mwami Saidi Katwa was one of a group of traditional leaders from Kalonge, South Kivu, who met Boiro recently. He complained that the early response teams had failed to properly engage with him and the other chiefs. Learning from initial mistakes, WHO then started engaging with community teams in a better way.

“If only the teams had begun by getting the backing of traditional leaders, their experience with the community would have been more positive,” Katwa said.

Turning the tide

To turn things around, a team of social anthropologists led by Boiro was sent into the most recalcitrant communities to get to the bottom of their concerns and pave the way for other community engagement colleagues. The team is largely made up of Congolese nationals knowledgeable on the local culture and customs and speak the local language.

“Our key advantage is we understand and empathise with the culture. In many cases we visit the leaders and their communities first to facilitate engagement, then explain their concerns to our colleagues,” says Boiro.

Traditional and religious leaders are an important part of the engagement process. They set the tone for the entire community to follow.

Although people still raise concerns that they cannot perform burial rituals as before, and continue to harbour doubts about Ebola symptoms or what happens when a patient is cared for in an Ebola treatment centre, they are opening up due to the efforts being made by teams such as the one led by Boiro. The ongoing outbreak is DRC’s tenth and the world’s second worst.

At the community meeting, Boiro and the man who wanted to know why Ebola was persistent, delve deeper into discussions as others listen attentively. It turns out that some had initially believed the claims of a local politician, nicknamed the Pillar of Butembo. In December 2018, the politician told his followers that the disease had been invented by the Government as an excuse for annulling the presidential vote in the Ebola-stricken areas. For a population that has endured years of trauma and invasion, it was the last straw.

People were venting their frustration on responders for many reasons, he recalls. “Some thought Ebola was invented so foreigners could make money from it; some put the disease down to sorcery and others were suspicious that the outbreak was timed as an excuse to postpone the 2018 presidential election which was cancelled in Butembo, Beni and Yumbi.”

Despite some confrontations, the anthropologists and the community engagement teams have persisted in addressing residents’ fears. Gradually, the strategy of engaging with and actively listening to leaders and different community groups has paid off. Even the man at the community meeting was won over. At the end of the discussion he approached Boiro and his team to say he had seen the sense of what they had to say and offered to collaborate with them to reach out to other communities.

“I really appreciate the way you respect our customs,” traditional leader Katwa told Boiro.

“Each culture has its way of doing things. By showing respect for our culture, you are conferred protection and this allows you access to the community. From today you can count on my support to fight the Ebola outbreak.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).
Source: Apo-Opa

SA sides gear up for action-packed Guinness PRO14 derby

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

South African Rugby Union
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The Isuzu Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs will be bracing themselves for an action-packed Guinness PRO14 derby on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth in what will mark the first encounter between the sides this season and the only match of the weekend.

Pride will be a big factor for both sides, but a good result will be of utmost importance too. The Free Staters are determined to win to remain close to the top of the log in their conference to stay in contention for a playoff spot later in the season, while a victory for the hosts would serve as proof that their steady improvement is paying dividends.

With four victories in their last eight matches to only one win by the Isuzu Southern Kings, the Toyota Cheetahs will enter the match as favourites, but Hawies Fourie (coach) insisted that they would not underestimate their countrymen, especially after making that mistake against Zebre early in January, which saw them slump to a 41-13 defeat.

In fact, Fourie went as far as warning his charges to “pitch up” or risk facing a big blow to their playoff hopes.

“I told the players that the previous three games in Port Elizabeth were close, with the scores being 29-20, 21-20 and 24-17,” said Fourie.

“And that is what we will encounter again. If we don’t pitch up and play well, then we will be in the same boat that we were in against Zebre.

“We have worked hard and mentally we know where we are. We know what mistakes we made against Zebre, so we will definitely put up a better performance.”

Fourie added: “You can’t underestimate any team in the competition. Zebre is a quality team, and our problem was that there were individuals that believed we would come back with five points in the bag.

“This means that we need to win another game to get back to where we need to be.”

Fourie expected a strong challenge from the hosts and said: “My feeling is that this is the game the Kings have been looking forward to for the entire season. If they beat us they will feel they are the best Guinness PRO14 side in South Africa. They have improved quite a lot since the start of the competition, and we will not underestimate them.”

Isuzu Southern Kings coach Robbie Kempson, meanwhile, said they were looking forward to meeting the Toyota Cheetahs and he predicted an entertaining spectacle.

“There’s always is something in these games,” said Kempson.

“It’s mates playing against each other and they have quite a few of our ex-players up there playing for them. There is already quite a bit of banter going on.

“I think it will be a good spectacle of rugby, especially given the way we both want to play. It will appeal to anyone who is watching.”

Kempson was confident that his team’s character would shine through in the clash and said: “In the last six to eight months we went through a process where we really changed the culture of the group. The leadership group has changed significantly from what we had initially and the culture of the team has grown immensely.”

Guinness PRO14 fixture:

Isuzu Southern Kings v Toyota Cheetahs

SA time: 15h30

Date: Saturday, 25 January

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Referee: Stuart Berry

Assistant Referees: Divan Uys and Quinton Immelman

TMO: Johann Greeff


Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby Union.

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Source: Apo-Opa

United Arab Emirates (UAE) condemns Burkina Faso blast

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Coperation
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The United Arab Emirates has strongly condemned the blast that killed several people and injured numerous others in Soum province in northern Burkina Faso.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation underscored the UAE's utter condemnation of this criminal act and its firm rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of religious and human values and principles.

The Ministry also expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims of this heinous crime and its wishes for a speedy recovery for all of the injured

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Coperation.
Source: Apo-Opa

Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador of Japan analyze the strengthening of Bilateral Cooperation between Angola and Japan

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of the Republic of Angola in Japan

The reinforcement of bilateral cooperation between Angola and Japan was on 01/21, under analysis at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during a hearing, held between Minister Manuel Domingos Augusto and the Japanese Ambassador, Hironori Sawada.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of the Republic of Angola in Japan.

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U.S. Government handover 16 Motorcycles to President’s Office – Regional Administrator and Local Government (PORALG) for improved Community HIV Services

23.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

U.S. Embassy in Tanzania
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On January 23, 2020, the United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), donated 16 Yamaha motorcycles and 800 filing cabinets to the Government of Tanzania. The motorcycles will be used to monitor the provision of social welfare services to vulnerable children and families. Community caseworkers are better equipped to deliver effective referrals to testing and treatment services at the community level. The cabinets will be used to store confidential records at the community level.

During the handover event, V. Kate Somvongsiri, USAID Deputy Mission Director said, “Community caseworkers are frontline champions and only collective efforts will create an AIDS-free generation in Tanzania”.

In addition, the United States Government handed over 15,800 sets of data collection and reporting forms to facilitate successful information management of Tanzania’s most vulnerable children and their households. This will increase proper documentation, tracking and client referral for health, protection and social welfare services. Also, 7,200 t-shirts were provided to support community caseworkers and their supervisors for easy identification as they conduct household visits to monitor and manage clients.

The motorcycles and additional materials were handed over to the President’s Office – Regional Administrator and Local Government (PORALG), represented by Minister Selemani Jafo.

USAID, through the Community Health and Social Welfare System Strengthening Program (CHSSP), works closely with PORALG and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. The aim of this collaboration is to control Tanzania’s HIV epidemic by strengthening social welfare and protection to vulnerable populations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Tanzania.
Source: Apo-Opa