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Archive for Central African Republic

Newsline: Central African Republic minister claims Boris Becker is ‘not our diplomat’

Boris Becker has been given more time to prove his diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy after Central African Republic officials both confirmed and rejected the claim. The former world tennis number one says he cannot be taken to court because of his appointment as the country’s attache for sports and cultural affairs in the European Union in April. CAR foreign minister Charles Armel Doubane said on that he had never signed a document giving the three-time Wimbledon champion official diplomatic status. “Boris Becker is not an official diplomat of Central African Republic,” he said. “The President never asked me to take the appropriate steps in the case of Boris Becker.” Only hours earlier the CAR embassy in Brussels had confirmed Mr Becker was one of its diplomats.


Newsline: ‘Ambassador Boris Becker’ aces creditors by claiming diplomatic immunity

Boris Becker has declared himself a diplomat for a small African country in a bid to stop creditors chasing him for millions in debts. The three-time Wimbledon tennis champion was declared bankrupt last summer and earlier this year launched an appeal to find his missing trophies to try to pay off £54 million of debts. The German is due to be one of the BBC’s commentators when the Wimbledon tennis championships start in a fortnight’s time. Now his lawyers have told the High Court that Becker quietly became a “sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs” attache for the Central African Republic on April 27. A defiant Becker said last night he was “immensely proud” of his new role – and attacked the “bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats” chasing him for money. According to the 1961 Vienna Convention, he cannot be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognised diplomatic agent. He cannot be sued for the cash without the consent of the Central African Republic, while legal claims can only be served on him through diplomatic channels. Any legal action would require the agreement of Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, as well as the Central African Republic’s foreign minister. Experts said that anyone could become a foreign diplomat if invited to do so by the country. Becker’s decision to become a diplomat could mean that none of the money he is expected to receive for commentating for the BBC at Wimbledon will go to his creditors.


Newsline: Sudan summons CAR envoy to protest killing of ambassador’s guard

Sudan’s foreign ministry summoned the Central African Republic (CAR) Ambassador to protest the killing of a Sudanese security agent killed by the local police inside the residence of its ambassador in Bangui. The security agent was mistakenly killed by the members of the Central Office for the Suppression of Banditry (OCRB), who thought he was a member militia member as the situation remained tense in the CAR capital on Friday after the death of some 24 people on Tuesday in attacks on a church and a mosque. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir said they handed over an official protest note to the CAR Ambassador Abdel Rahim Abdallah demanding to arrest the perpetrators of te attack and bring them to justice. Also, Sudan requested to provide the needed security to protect the mission, the ambassador and its team members. The Sudanese foreign ministry said the slain security agent was the guard of the ambassador’s residence. Ambassador Khidir said CAR Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadera paid a visit to the ambassador’s residence to offer his condolences and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.


Newsline: South Sudan diplomat mistaken for bandit, shot dead in Central African Republic

An aide to South Sudan’s ambassador to the Central African Republic (CAR) was shot and killed in the country’s capital, Bangui on Friday. The unnamed official, AFP reported, was shot by men from the Central Office for the Suppression of Banditry (OCRB) who mistook him for a bandit. The incident reportedly took place after the OCRB men spotted aide with a weapon in his car and pursued him till his residence in Bangui. The Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera has reportedly apologised for the shooting of the embassy official. South Sudan’s foreign affairs ministry is yet to comment on the incident.


Newsline: US Embassy to Reopen in Central African Republic

The United States is reopening its embassy in the Central African Republic after a nearly two-year diplomatic absence. In a letter to Congress on Thursday, President Barack Obama said 20 U.S. troops arrived a day earlier to secure the embassy in Bangui. Obama did not give a firm date for the arrival of new diplomatic staff. However, the soldiers are seen as the first step toward reestablishing the mission, which closed in late 2012 amid rebel threats to overthrow the government. The decision comes as the United Nations begins a new peacekeeping mission in the country, where the government struggles to function amid widespread violence following a March 2013 coup.


Newsline: Chinese embassy assists evacuation from Central African Republic

Around 250 of the 300 Chinese living and working in the Central African Republic have been evacuated since the unrest erupted in the country, Chinese embassy officials in the country said. “Around 250 Chinese nationals have flown back to China or to neighbouring countries, and the rest of them – about 50 – will be leaving today or in the following days,” said Wang Xudong, counselor of the Chinese embassy in the CAR capital Bangui. He added there were around 300 Chinese nationals currently living or working in Bangui, and most had lived there for decades, mainly working for Chinese companies. The embassy will “try its best” to offer support to Chinese nationals and ensure their safety, and extra assistance will also be provided to those who choose to stay, according to Sun Haichao, the ambassador.


Newsline: US embassy evacuated in Central African Republic as rebels approach capital

As rebels approached the capital of the embattled Central African Republic, the U.S. shuttered its embassy and moved out its ambassador and about 40 diplomats. “This decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no relation to our continuing and long-standing diplomatic relations with the (Central African Republic),” read a statement posted to the embassy’s website. The Seleka rebels seized the city of Sibut about 114 miles from Bangui, the capital, a government official confirmed to The Associated Press. Sibut, a transportation hub, fell to the rebels without a shot fired because the government army had pulled back on Friday.


Newsline: US Closes Embassy in Central African Republic, Evacuates Staff

The United States has temporarily shut down its embassy in the Central African Republic and evacuated the staff, because of a rebel threat to topple the government. A State Department spokesman said Washington is urging all parties to begin peace talks to offer a new vision of security for the country. He said U.S. diplomatic relations with the C.A.R. are not affected. The United Nations already has evacuated non-essential staff from the country because of the threat of violence. Rebel fighters are about 300 kilometers from the capital, Bangui. The C.A.R. won independence from France in 1960. About 250 French troops are in the country as part of a peacekeeping mission. Some in the C.A.R. want France to do more to counter the rebel threat. French President Francois Hollande says France is in the C.A.R. to protect its interests and nationals, not to intervene in the country’s business.


Newsline: France Acts to Protect Embassy in Central African Republic

The French government moved to protect its embassy in the Central African Republic after a group of protesters pelted the building with rocks and demanded France intervene to help restore the authority of President François Bozizé. France, the former colonial ruler of the poor, landlocked African country, in which it maintains a contingent of about 250 soldiers, deployed troops to the embassy in Bangui, the capital city. “These troops managed to secure the embassy and restore calm,” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement. Earlier Wednesday, protesters had held another, more peaceful demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in the city, also seeking foreign assistance. The tension in Bangui illustrates the dilemma France faces in many of its former African colonies, more than 50 years after they gained independence: be accused of meddling in African affairs when it intervenes or of failing to prevent chaos when it doesn’t. French officials said Paris would take necessary steps to protect the estimated 1,200 French citizens living in the Central African Republic but had no plan to support Mr. Bozizé’s government. That wasn’t the first time Paris had been involved in the Central African Republic’s internal affairs: In 1979, France toppled the former colony’s self-proclaimed emperor and reinstalled his predecessor.


Newsline: Diplomat’s Aide Faces Assault Charges After JFK Scuffle

Let this be a lesson to all diplomatic attachés: Just wait for your gun to be processed at JFK Airport. The Post reports that a “man traveling with the president of the Central African Republic got into a scuffle with a Port Authority cop over a gun.” At 4:15 p.m., “A US Secret Service agent approached a PA cop for help in getting a package containing a gun through screening, and the officer paused to call a supervisor. An attaché, Mario de Gonzalez Bengabo-Gomo, 38, grabbed the package and began walking away… A fight broke out between Bengabo-Gomo and the cop, ending with the cop hospitalized and the attaché, who does not have diplomatic status, facing assault, resisting-arrest and weapons charges.”