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Archive for Mali

Newsline: The diplomats without an embassy

Officially, the dream of an independent Biafra ended in 1970, when the Nigerian Civil War came to an end after the breakaway state in southeastern Nigeria was defeated by the federal government. However, according to the United States government, Biafra still exists, at least in certain filings at the department of justice. In the alphabetically ordered filings maintained under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (Fara), Biafra sits right in between Bermuda and Bolivia. But although Bermuda is recognised as a British Overseas Territory and Bolivia maintains an official embassy, Biafra is not officially recognised as an independent country in the United States, or anywhere. But all states — whether they’re widely recognised or not — as well as foreign political parties and other entities, must publicly file their contracts with US firms when those firms are hired to engage in work related to public policy or public opinion. (https://mg.co.za/africa/2020-08-22-the-diplomats-without-an-embassy/) The Biafra filing contains a contract between a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), and the US firm Mercury Public Affairs, although Ipob is not the only non-state, or quasi-state actor in the filings. Joining Ipob are the Coordination of Movements of the Azawad (CMA), an alliance of Tuareg rebels in Mali; and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, in Western Sahara. Both have hired Independent Diplomat, a nonprofit diplomatic advisory group. The challenges they face are serious and long-standing issues, ranging from independence to the implementation of peace accords. Under the Fara filings for Mali, the CMA is listed alongside — although separately — from the Malian government. The group, a coalition of rebels from the 2012 Tuareg uprising, differs from the various Biafran movements in that it actually holds governing and military power, rather than being an independence movement.

Newsline: Czech Republic to open embassy in Mali

The Czech Republic will open an embassy in Mali as of January 1, 2019, the Czech Foreign Ministry announced on its web page citing a decision by the Czech government. The embassy in Bamako should play a key role in strengthening cooperation in the field of security, increasing the Czech presence in military and civilian missions aimed at stabilizing the Sahel region and contribute to the development of mutual economic cooperation.


Newsline: Algeria confirms death of general consul in Mali

Algeria confirmed the death of its general consul in Mali, who was kidnapped by a militant group in the African country in April 2012. The Algerian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the general consul died of illness in Mali, while his deputy was executed by the militant group Tawhid and Jihad. The ministry also confirmed the release of two more diplomats who were kidnapped by the same militant movement in April 2012. The private Algerian TV Echorouk reported the release of the two diplomats in Mali. The TV added, however, that the fate of a third Algerian diplomat kidnapped by the same group remains uncertain. In April 2012, seven Algerian diplomats kidnapped from the Algerian consulate in Gao Region, northeastern Mali. The movement later released three diplomats, but it executed one more diplomat.


Newsline: Diplomats warn westerners in Libya face growing threat of violence

Diplomats are warning of growing Islamist violence against western targets in Libya as blowback from the war in Mali, following last week’sattack on the French embassy in Tripoli. The bomb blast that wrecked much of the embassy is seen as a reprisal by Libyan militants for the decision by Paris the day before to extend its military mission against fellow jihadists in Mali. The Guardian has learned that jihadist groups ejected from their Timbuktu stronghold have moved north, crossing the Sahara through Algeria and Niger to Libya, fuelling a growing Islamist insurgency. “There are established links between groups in both Mali and Libya – we know there are established routes,” said a western diplomat in Tripoli. “There is an anxiety among the political class here that Mali is blowing back on them.” That anxiety escalated last week after militants detonated a car bomb outside the French embassy, wounding two French guards and a Libyan student, the first such attack on a western target in the Libyan capital since the end of the 2011 Arab spring revolution.


Newsline: France appoints new ambassador to Mali

French foreign ministry confirmed that it had appointed Gilles Huberson as the new ambassador to Mali amid a French military operation to help the African country oust Islamist rebels. Huberson, a foreign affairs advisor, will replace current envoy Christian Rouyer who has held the post since March 2011, according to the foreign ministry. Appointing Huberson as France’s top diplomat to Mali was within a framework of adjustment of some diplomatic positions in Africa, the foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said, adding that the ministry also proposed Jean Felix Paganon as ambassador to Senegalese authorities. Diplomatic sources in the West African nation said Rouyer had reportedly fell out with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. He was an outspoken advocate for the French military intervention in Mali and remained popular among local political and civil societies. France has more than 4,000 troops on the ground in Mali, 1,200 of whom are currently deployed in the northeast, cleaning up the rest after driving out most of the Islamist rebels from the area.


Newsline: Canadian Special Forces in Mali To Protest Embassy in Bamako

Canadian military special forces are in Mali protecting Canada’s embassy. The specially trained soldiers are not in the West African country to participate in any direct combat action, nor will they provide training to the Malian troops. However, the special forces personnel have been assigned to provide protection to Canada’s embassy in the capital city of Bamako and provide for the safety of Canadians in the country.


Newsline: Brazil’s embassy in Mali to stay open

Brazil’s embassy in Mali, where the government forces and militants are engaged in clashes, will stay open, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tovar da Silva Nunes said. The state-run news agency Agencia Brasil quoted Nunes as saying that there have been no orders from the government to close the embassy, though several countries, including Japan, have temporarily closed their embassies in Mali due to the worsening security situation in the West African country.


Newsline: Japan to shut its embassy in Mali

Japan’s Foreign Ministry says that the East Asian country has planned to close its embassy in Mali amid conflict in the West African country. According to a statement released by the ministry on Wednesday, “Japan will temporarily close the embassy in Mali due to the worsening security in the country, including in the capital of Bamako. The staff will continue the operation in the embassy in France.” Earlier on January 20, Canada evacuated the majority of its staff and their families from its embassy in Mali for security reasons.


Newsline: Canada evacuates Mali embassy staff

The federal government has evacuated most of its staff and their families from the embassy in Mali, and is urging any Canadians still in the country to get out now. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAIT) says all non-essential staff and all 29 dependents of the workers and diplomats there have been relocated from the mission in the capital of Bamako. The situation in Mali has been volatile for nearly a year, with Islamist radicals taking over northern parts of the country following a coup. Two thousand French troops are now stationed in the country, trying to help the government there dislodge the insurgents. Foreign Affairs warns that it now has a skeleton staff in Bamako, with limited ability to help any Canadians who have stubbornly remained in the country. The department says in addition to the political instability and military clashes, there is a threat of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping in the northern region.


Newsline: US tells embassy families to leave Mali

The US State Department has told families of US embassy staff in Bamako, Mali, to leave. In a warning, the department also advised Americans against all travel to the west African nation because of fighting and Islamic militant activity in the north and central regions. The department warns of attacks and kidnappings of Westerners and of food shortages, the loss of government control in some areas and the presence of militants linked to al Qaida.