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Archive for Africa

Newsline: French Embassy Asks Burkina Faso for Increased Protection

The French embassy in Burkina Faso has asked the West African state for more protection after violent protests targeted the property last week, a letter to the government and a diplomatic source said. In a letter to Burkina Faso’s foreign ministry seen by Reuters, the French embassy said Burkina Faso’s military police did nothing on Nov. 18 as hundreds of protesters violently attacked the embassy, throwing stones and other projectiles at its walls. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-11-21/french-embassy-asks-burkina-faso-for-more-protection-after-protests) Some of the officers charged with protecting the embassy were captured on video playing cards as the protest unfolded, the letter said. Anti-French sentiment and protests have surged this year in Burkina Faso, a former French colony where France maintains strong ties and has special forces stationed in the country.

Newsline: Burkina Faso protesters tried to storm French embassy

Police in Burkina Faso fired tear gas on Friday to disperse angry protesters who attempted to storm the French embassy in the capital Ouagadougou, local media reported. The protesters, who were demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador, rallied at the municipal stadium in the morning before heading to the French embassy, where they were dispersed by police tear gas, according to the local daily Le Faso. “Police fired tear gas after negotiations with the protesters asking them to leave the scene peacefully failed. But the protesters responded by stoning the embassy,” it said. (https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/angry-protesters-try-to-storm-french-embassy-in-burkina-faso-report-3655785) Video footage showed the protesters, some riding on motorcycles, blowing whistles and vuvuzelas shouting slogans such as “down with France.” The protesters, mainly youth, accuse France of being responsible for Burkina Faso’s problems, including insecurity.

Newsline: Greece’s top diplomat calls off Tripoli visit on touchdown

Greece’s foreign minister called off the first leg of a visit to Libya on Thursday, refusing to disembark from his plane after landing in the capital of Tripoli, Greek authorities said. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/greeces-top-diplomat-calls-off-tripoli-visit-touchdown-93477794) Instead, he flew to the city of Benghazi, in the country’s east. The Greek foreign ministry described the fracas — effectively a snub of Libya’s western, Tripoli-based administration — as the result of a violation of protocol and agreed-on terms for the visit. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was on a two-part trip that was to include a meeting with the president of Libya’s western, Tripoli-based government, Mohamed Younis Menfi. That was to be followed by a meeting in Benghazi with the east-based administration. A terse statement from the Greek ministry indicated Dendias did not want to meet with his Tripoli counterpart, Najla Mangoush, yet she came to the airport to greet him.

Newsline: Algeria to become hotspot of Arab diplomacy

Algeria aims to demonstrate diplomatic clout this week as it hosts the first Arab League summit since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Arab states are split over issues ranging from support for the Palestinian cause, the regional roles of Iran and Turkey and the rehabilitation of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, while Algeria’s own bitter feud with Morocco continues to fester. In Algeria, largely absent from Arab affairs for several years following the 2019 mass protests that led to the ousting of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the meeting has been portrayed as a mark of its return to frontline diplomacy. (https://news.yahoo.com/algeria-hosts-divided-arab-states-102146447.html) Since the last Arab summit three years ago, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have also moved to normalise ties with Israel – a move regarded as a betrayal by many Palestinians. Last month Algiers convened Palestinian factions in an effort to end years of internal discord, and President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has in recent months hosted the leaders of France and Italy. However Algeria failed earlier this year to persuade other Arab states to end Syria’s suspension from membership of the league imposed in late 2011 over Assad’s crackdown on protesters as an uprising spilled into civil war. Damascus said in September it would not attend to avoid “causing dispute”. Some major Arab states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar backed Sunni Muslim rebels fighting Assad, a close ally of Iran. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the United Arab Emirates leader Mohammed bin Zayed have both confirmed they are not coming to Algiers, as has Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. The presidents of Egypt and Tunisia and the monarchs of Kuwait and Qatar are among about two thirds of leaders whom the Arab League has said will attend.

Newsline: Rwanda criticized expulsion of its ambassador from Congo

Rwanda accused neighboring Congo of escalating tensions between the two countries after the Rwandan ambassador to Congo was given 48 hours to leave the country following rebel advances in the east. In a statement issued after Rwandan Ambassador Vincent Karega was order to leave Congo, the Rwandan government said its forces along the border “remain on alert.” “It is regrettable the government of the DRC continues to scapegoat Rwanda to cover up and distract from their own governance and security failures,” said the statement attributed to the Office of the Government Spokesperson. (https://news.yahoo.com/rwanda-criticizes-expulsion-ambassador-congo-172010084.html) Congo believes that Rwanda is supporting the M23 rebels, who have expanded their control over the past year. On Saturday, residents said the rebels gained control of two more towns, including Kiwanja.

Newsline: South Africa’s President calls US embassy’s warning “unfortunate”

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday regretted as “unfortunate” the US embassy’s issuing of a warning of a possible weekend “terrorist” attack in the country without consulting his government. “It is quite unfortunate the US issued that type of warning without having any type of discussion with us,” he said during a press conference. “Any form of alert will come from the government of the republic of South Africa and it is unfortunate that another government should issue such a threat as to send panic amongst our people,” said Ramaphosa. (https://news.yahoo.com/us-terror-alert-africa-unfortunate-132342048.html) The US embassy on Wednesday posted the alert on its website and identified the potential target as Sandton, a suburb in the country’s financial hub of Johannesburg. The alert said the attack could occur there on Saturday.

Newsline: U.S. diplomats told Burkina Faso not planning to hire Russian fighters like Mali

Burkina Faso’s interim President Ibrahim Traore has assured U.S. diplomats that he has no intention of inviting Russian Wagner forces to fight militants in the country, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday. “We had a chance to sit with interim President Traore and his leadership team, including his defence minister. He was unequivocal in saying that only Burkinabe will defend their country. They have no intention of inviting Wagner,” she said at a digital media briefing. (https://news.yahoo.com/burkina-faso-not-planning-hire-164211714.html) There has been concern that Burkina Faso might follow the lead of neighbouring Mali, which late last year hired mercenary fighters from Russia’s Wagner group to help its army fight Islamist insurgents. Security has deteriorated since Wagner entered Mali, rights abuses have been reported and United Nations peacekeepers have been squeezed out, said Nuland, who has just returned to the United States from a West Africa tour.

Newsline: US authorizes diplomats to leave Nigerian capital

The United States authorized the departure of diplomats from the Nigerian capital Abuja, stepping up precautions over what it said was the threat of attacks. The State Department said in a statement it was permitting but not requiring non-emergency US personnel and their families to leave Abuja “due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks.” It did not order an evacuation and overall travel advice to Americans was unchanged, with the State Department advising citizens to reconsider non-essential travel to Nigeria due to concerns over crime and unrest. The latest US security move comes after the embassy on Sunday urged Americans to limit their movements due to an “elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja,” a warning repeated by Britain, Canada and Australia. (https://news.yahoo.com/us-authorizes-diplomats-leave-nigerian-162354543.html) The United States did not specify the threat. Abuja, a pre-planned capital of six million people built in the 1980s, has historically been seen as safe but insurgents linked to the Islamic State group have claimed several attacks in surrounding areas over the past six months.

Newsline: South Africa hosts diplomatic talks on Ethiopia’s Tigray

Peace talks to end Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict have begun in South Africa, a South African government spokesman said Tuesday. It is the highest-level diplomatic effort yet to end two years of fighting that has killed perhaps hundreds of thousands of people. The spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Vincent Magwenya, said the African Union-led talks that started Tuesday are expected to continue until Sunday. “Such talks are in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objectives of a secure and conflict-free continent,” Magwenya said. (https://www.mrt.com/news/article/South-Africa-says-Ethiopia-peace-talks-have-begun-17532652.php) Delegations from the Ethiopian government and Tigray authorities arrived in South Africa this week. There was no immediate comment from either side.

Newsline: US, UK embassies issue terror alerts for Nigerian capital

Residents in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, were on high alert on Monday, after the U.S. and U.K. issued warnings about possible attacks in the city. On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy issued an alert for “an elevated risk of terror attacks” in the city, saying that possible targets include government buildings, places of worship and other public places. “The U.S. Embassy will offer reduced services until further notice,” the mission said in a statement, urging citizens to avoid all nonessential movements and crowds. (https://www.kiro7.com/news/world/nigerian-capital/) The U.K. mission in Nigeria also took a similar step and restricted entry to the British High Commission in the city in an updated terrorism alert. Nigeria’s security forces have in the past warned of similar attacks in Abuja, which is also in the north. It was, however, spared most such incidents until July, when nearly 1,000 inmates escaped during a jailbreak carried out by Islamic State-backed extremists.