Daily Archives: April 6, 2019

Libyan PM Condemns Rival’s Move on Tripoli

CAIRO Libya’s U.N. backed prime minister, Fayez Sarraj, says his government’s troops are prepared to confront the forces loyal to eastern Libyan military commander Gen. Khalifa Haftar, which appear to have gained ground along the outskirts of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Sarraj called the action by Haftar an attempted coup.

Arab media broadcast video of Haftar’s forces entering the gates of Tripoli’s now-closed international airport, before taking positions outside terminal buildings and along the now-unused runways. There did not appear to be any resistance to the takeover.

Arab media also showed residents of neighborhoods near the capital cheering as Haftar’s forces entered. Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV said Haftar’s forces had entered the Khalat al-Fargan district of the capital. VOA could not independently confirm the claim.

Four towns controlled

Haftar’s military spokesman, Col. Ahmad Almismari, told a press conference Saturday afternoon that forces under Haftar’s command were gaining ground.

He said Haftar’s forces were in control of the towns of Gharyan, Jendouba, Qasr al-Beshir and Suwani. He said 14 soldiers fighting with the Libyan army had been killed.

The spokesman said air force planes loyal to Haftar had launched at least four raids near the Bab al-Aziziya military compound south of the capital, but that there were no casualties. He said, however, that planes from the nearby town of Misrata, which opposes Haftar, had killed a number of civilians in a raid over the town of Ghariyan, which Haftar now controls.

As the fighting appeared to spread, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres insisted, during a visit to Jordan, that the U.N. would never give up its support [for] the Libyan people.

U.N. special envoy Ghassan Salame, who is in Libya, said he was monitoring the situation closely.

He said tensions were increasing in a number of places in and around Tripoli and that he was keeping tabs on the situation. He said it was urgent that tension in those areas be ended and that civilians’ safety be ensured.

In Cairo, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called on the international community to take action to restore stability to the Libyan capital. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri told visiting Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that Libya has been out of control since the revolution that overthrew Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Shoukri said the situation in Libya has been worrisome over the past few years with respect to the lack of stability and spread of terrorism, increasing the danger to the Libyan people.

Lavrov: commence talks

Lavrov urged all parties to stop fighting and start negotiating and said the international community must prevent the situation from escalating. He urged Libya’s warring parties to cease military operations and sit down at the negotiating table.

U.N. envoy Salame, for his part, insisted that every effort would be made to hold the upcoming national dialogue conference in the southern town of Ghadames, unless the situation on the ground made it impossible to do so.

Source: Voice of America

G-7 Ministers Hope to Seal Commitments on Global Challenges

DINARD, FRANCE Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven advanced economies were wrapping up a two-day meeting in the French seaside resort of Dinard on Saturday where they hope to seal joint commitments on a range of global challenges and lay the groundwork for August’s G-7 summit in Biarritz.

Diplomats from G-7 countries, which include the U.S., France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and the U.K., walked side-by-side against the rocky Atlantic coast backdrop and in the fresh Brittany air to project a united front before a working lunch. They hope to agree on a joint statement on the fight against trafficking drugs, arms and migrants in Africa’s troubled Sahel region, fighting cybercrime and stopping sexual violence against women in conflict zones, especially in Africa.

But U.S. officials said that points of discord will also be discussed at the talks led by the host, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan said that Washington will use the G-7 forum to galvanize support for Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who the U.S. has backed to lead the country into a democratic transformation from the failed regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido has embarked on an international campaign to topple the socialist administration of Venezuela’s president amid deepening unrest in the country, which has been plagued by nearly a month of power outages.

Washington seems to be at odds with Italy over its stance on the crisis-hit South American country, being the sole G-7 member state to not back Guaido.

The U.S. and Canada have pursued a pro-active stance on widening support for Guaido, according to French officials. But there has already been widespread alarm after Guaido was stripped of immunity by Maduro loyalists earlier this week.

With Juan Guaido being stripped of his immunity … we don’t want the situation to escalate, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Dinard on Saturday.

We are still of the opinion that free elections should take place during which Venezuelans can decide themselves who will lead the country, he added.

Italy has also irked EU and U.S. allies by becoming the first G-7 member to sign up to a contentious Chinese plan to build a Silk Road-style global trade network, the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.

Source: Voice of America

G-7 Ministers Hope to Seal Commitments on Global Challenges

DINARD, FRANCE Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven advanced economies were wrapping up a two-day meeting in the French seaside resort of Dinard on Saturday where they hope to seal joint commitments on a range of global challenges and lay the groundwork for August’s G-7 summit in Biarritz.

Diplomats from G-7 countries, which include the U.S., France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and the U.K., walked side-by-side against the rocky Atlantic coast backdrop and in the fresh Brittany air to project a united front before a working lunch. They hope to agree on a joint statement on the fight against trafficking drugs, arms and migrants in Africa’s troubled Sahel region, fighting cybercrime and stopping sexual violence against women in conflict zones, especially in Africa.

But U.S. officials said that points of discord will also be discussed at the talks led by the host, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan said that Washington will use the G-7 forum to galvanize support for Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who the U.S. has backed to lead the country into a democratic transformation from the failed regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido has embarked on an international campaign to topple the socialist administration of Venezuela’s president amid deepening unrest in the country, which has been plagued by nearly a month of power outages.

Washington seems to be at odds with Italy over its stance on the crisis-hit South American country, being the sole G-7 member state to not back Guaido.

The U.S. and Canada have pursued a pro-active stance on widening support for Guaido, according to French officials. But there has already been widespread alarm after Guaido was stripped of immunity by Maduro loyalists earlier this week.

With Juan Guaido being stripped of his immunity … we don’t want the situation to escalate, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Dinard on Saturday.

We are still of the opinion that free elections should take place during which Venezuelans can decide themselves who will lead the country, he added.

Italy has also irked EU and U.S. allies by becoming the first G-7 member to sign up to a contentious Chinese plan to build a Silk Road-style global trade network, the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.

Source: Voice of America

Trade agreement bolsters South Africa exports into Brazil

BRASILIA, The preferential trade agreement between the Southern African Customs Unions (SACU) and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade blocs has led to a steady increase of South African exports into Brazil.

This is according to the South African Foreign Economic Representative in Brazil, Shanaaz Ebrahim.

Speaking at the just concluded 12th Latin American Defence and Security Exhibition (LAAD) in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Ebrahim said that South African exports to Brazil for the year 2016/17 rose to $43 million, and 2017/18 they further increased to $183 million.

South Africa is one of the member countries of the SACU.

According to trade statistics, our trade deficit with Brazil has shrunk considerably in 2018. The deficit is now at $700 million down from $1.2 billion in 2017. This is thanks to the fact that we have increased our exports to Brazil by 37% from $483 million in 2017 to $663 million in 2018.

Part of this was due to the ratification of the SACU/MERCOSUR preferential trade agreement which was ratified in April 2016 where SACU had offered MERCOSUR tariff line items of about 1065 product lines across 16 sectors of which 469 products are zero percent import duty free, she said.

Mercosur reciprocated this agreement by offering SACU 1052 product lines of which 778 products were at 0% import duty free.

This offers us a window of opportunity to penetrate the Brazilian market through these zero percent import duty free products. Negotiations of this agreement started in 2000, said Ebrahim.

Ebrahim’s comments come as a delegation of South African companies are participating in the LAAD through the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) Export Market Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA).

The scheme aims to increase exports of South African manufactured products.

The dti is hosting a pavilion at the fair where 21 companies are showcasing South Africa’s industrial capabilities with the eventual intention of securing trade leads and business opportunities.

The purpose of the agreement is to integrate the economies of member countries through gradual and reciprocal liberalisation of trade and the strengthening of economic co-operation ties among member countries.

South African exports to Brazil for the year 2016/17 rose to $43 million, and 2017/18 they further increased to $183 million.

This offers us a window of opportunity to penetrate the Brazilian market through these zero percent import duty free products. Negotiations of this agreement started in 2000, she said.

Both South Africa’s and Brazil’s membership to the BRICS multinational agreements was advantageous to both countries.

This year Brazil will be chairing the 11th BRICS Summit which will be held in November, so there is going to be a series of working groups and meetings during the course of this year and we are looking forward to those agreements, Ebrahim said.

She urged South African companies to familiarise themselves with the Brazilian market.

I would also urge our companies to interrogate and familiarise themselves with the list of 0% import duty free products as that will orientate them on the viability of their products within the Brazilian market and it would also stand them in best position to draw instant benefits resulting from the SACU/MERCOSUR preferential trade agreement.

LAAD is a leading Latin America and Security event that gathers international and national companies that provides technologies, equipment and services for armed forces, special forces, police, homeland security and security managers from large companies, service concessionaires and critical infrastructure.

Source: NAM News Network

UNICEF reaffirms support for South Africa to end child abuse

CAPE TOWN, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reaffirmed its support for South Africa to end child abuse in the country that has been plagued by the scourge for long.

UNICEF’s core focus in South Africa is on ending violence against children, the organization said in a statement.

UNICEF was reacting to allegations of serious child abuse at a South African nursery school where a female caregiver physically abused young children.

A video showing the abuse has gone viral on social media, and UNICEF said it was appalled at the content of the video showing the caregiver at the creche physically abusing young children whilst the other caregiver was capturing the horrifying footage.

The Carletonville nursery school in Gauteng Province, northeastern South Africa, has been closed and the caregiver in question has been arrested following public outrage over the incident.

The fact that this incident occurred in what is considered a safe space, namely, a nursery school, denies these children their dignity and their right to be secure, UNICEF said.

The organization said it would like to see the perpetrators of this crime facing the full might of the law so that this acts as a deterrent.

UNICEF cited statistics which show that one in three children experience violence in South Africa, often by an adult who is supposed to be taking care of them.

UNICEF said it has been assured by the progressive legal framework in this country that justice will be served and that the children and the families affected will receive necessary support.

Both the Constitution of this country and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which South Africa is a signatory, remind people that every child in South Africa has the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect in their homes and in their communities, said UNICEF.

The United Nations has ranked South Africa as among the world’s 10 most violent nations. According to police, 800 to 900 children are murdered every year in the country.

Source: NAM News Network