Archive for June 3, 2012

Ties between the neighbor states will improve with “the return of stability” to Libya, an Algerian official said.

By Fidet Mansour for Magharebia in Algiers – 05/09/11

Algeria on Sunday (September 4th) announced the temporary closure of all border crossing points with Libya as a security precaution.

“A new situation has been created by the Libyan crisis, notably through the arms flow and the massive exodus of people from this country,” Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said.

The issue will be discussed at a September 7th-8th security meeting in Algiers, which will bring together officials from Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Algeria.

“Based on the nature of the relations between our two countries, we can only say that the relationship between us will improve with the return of stability to Libya,” Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said Sunday on the sidelines of the opening of Parliament’s autumn session.

The announcement came a couple of days after Algeria’s chief diplomat vowed that his country would recognize the National Transitional Council (NTC) once the body “set up a government representative of all regions”.

Relations between the NTC and Algeria soured after Algeria allowed entry to Moamer Kadhafi’s family members last week. The government asserted that the gesture was “strictly humanitarian”, while the NTC vowed to press for extradition.

“The Libyans asked us to welcome Kadhafi’s family as we would our own children,” Ouyahia said on Sunday.

Medelci, meanwhile, denied that his country would welcome Kadhafi himself. “The hypothesis that Kadhafi could come knocking on our door was never considered,” he told radio station Europe 1.

The foreign minister also called on Western nations to “understand the concerns of Algeria, which is witnessing a war on its border”. He met with NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil last Thursday at the “Friends of Libya” conference.

The Algerian official said that the Paris meeting provided an opportunity to clear up all “ambiguities”, a response to French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe’s earlier remarks that Algeria’s stance on the conflict was “ambiguous”.

In his turn, Abdel Jalil expressed hope that the bilateral relations would improve in the future, underlining the “close and warm ties between the two neighboring countries”.

“Algeria has implemented all UN resolutions on Libya since the beginning of the crisis,” the NTC chairman told reporters after the Paris summit, which brought together representatives of 63 nations and world bodies.

Medelci praised the decisions taken at the international conference, including “the return of frozen funds, which will enable Libya to raise US $15 billion in the short term, and the consensus that was reached on the need to work on reconciliation between all Libyans, to prevent acts of vengeance and to rebuild Libya in terms of both its institutions and its capacity to address economic and social needs”.

Source: Magharebia.

Camp Darapanan, Philippines (AFP)
Sept 5, 2011

Muslim rebels waging a decades-long insurgency in the Philippines said Monday they would refuse to hold further direct talks with the government until it modified its peace plan.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader Murad Ebrahim said his negotiators would not meet their government counterparts next week as planned because the two sides’ positions were too far apart.

“With this situation we feel that there is no point of discussion between the two panels,” Murad told reporters at Camp Darapanan, the MILF’s rural headquarters on the outskirts of Cotabato city, in the southern Philippines.

Murad said the MILF would instead ask the Malaysian facilitator of the talks to meet separately with both sides in an effort to have the government alter its peace plan, which he described as an “exercise in futility”.

“It is necessity (to have) facilitation in order to help the two positions of the panels get nearer each other, and create an atmosphere conducive to discussions,” he said.

Murad said the government’s offer, made last month during the last round of talks in Kuala Lumpur, focused too heavily on socio-economic reforms, while ignoring the MILF’s quest for an autonomous substate for Muslims in the south.

“We need them to understand that the problem is a political problem and the solution must be a political solution,” he said.

He said the determination of the Philippines’ Muslim minority population to have an autonomous homeland in the south was the “root cause” of the problem and the government must agree to discuss this for peace talks to continue.

The government has not released full details of its roadmap for peace, but said the broad principles focus on achieving socio-economic reforms in the impoverished south of the country and other “doables” in an initial phase.

The government has also offered what it has described as a form of autonomy for Muslims in the south.

But Murad said Muslims would have no real autonomy under the government’s plan and that a “substate” allowing much more freedom from the central powers in Manila must be created.

About 150,000 people have died since the MILF and other armed Muslim groups began their struggle in the 1970s, according to military estimates.

A ceasefire between the MILF and government troops has been in place since 2003, however this has been regularly broken.

Source: Space War.

Najaf, Iraq (AFP)
Sept 5, 2011

Radical anti-US Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Monday he is giving the Iraqi government a “last chance” to implement reforms, or popular demonstrations would be called.

“This is the last chance before setting a date for open, peaceful, popular, demonstrations,” Sadr said in a statement released by his office in the holy city of Najaf, without specifying how much time he was giving the government.

Sadr called on the government to give all Iraqis a share of the country’s oil wealth, create jobs for 50,000 unemployed people nationwide, and provide free fuel for private generators, until Iraq’s destitute electricity sector is improved.

“If these demands are achieved without delay… the open demonstration will be postponed indefinitely,” Sadr said.

The cleric in February gave the government six months to improve services, threatening to call protests otherwise.

Sadr’s bloc holds six cabinet posts and has 40 seats in parliament.

Source: Space War.

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations (UN) on Monday warned that the food crisis in the Horn of Africa is worsening and called for greater international efforts to minimize its effects.

The UN noted that in Somalia alone, around 750,000 people are in risk of starvation over the next four months. According to the latest data released by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU), which is managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) famine has spread to a sixth area of the country, Bay region, which is one of Somalia’s most productive areas.

The Bay region produces 80 percent of Somalia’s sorghum harvest and is considered the country’s breadbasket. However, record levels of acute malnutrition have been registered there, with 58 percent of children under the age of five acutely malnourished, with a crude mortality rate of more than two deaths in every 10,000 per day.

Previously, famine was declared in five areas in southern and central Somalia. During the past eight months, the number of Somalis in need of humanitarian assistance has increased from 2.4 million to 4 million, the FAO said, adding that 3 million of them are in the country’s south.

The five other areas hit by famine include the Bakool agropastoral communities in Lower Shabelle region, the agropastoral areas of Balad and Cadale districts of Middle Shabelle, the Afgoye corridor which has the highest concentration of internally displaced persons (IDP) settlements, and the Mogadishu IDP community.

“Though these figures paint a bleak picture for Somalia, there is a window of opportunity for the humanitarian community to stop and reverse this undesirable trend by supporting farmers and herders in addition to other emergency interventions,” Luca Alinovi, the FAO Officer in Charge of Somalia, said during a press conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Humanitarian aid has been ongoing throughout the region, but despite the efforts, the crisis is projected to continue, indicating that famine will become widespread throughout southern Somalia by the end of this year.

Grainne Moloney, the FSNAU Chief Technical Adviser, said famine is likely to spread to agropastoral populations in Gedo, Hiran, Middle Shabelle and Juba regions, and the riverine populations of Juba and Gedo in the coming four months.

Furthermore, a post-harvest assessment showed this year’s cereal crop was the lowest in 17 years. Declining stocks of local cereals have sent cereal prices soaring by 300 percent over the past year, and nearly half a million acutely malnourished children across Somalia require urgent nutritional treatment.

With increasing access to many parts of southern Somalia, the FAO is currently carrying out emergency interventions and will open two new offices in Mogadishu and Dolo and several sub-offices in each region. In addition, it has already appealed for $70 million to fund agricultural emergency assistance for one million farmers and herders in Somalia.

A state of famine is declared on the basis of at least three criteria – severe lack access to food for 20 percent of a population; acute malnutrition exceeding 30 percent; and a crude death rate that exceeds two deaths in every 10,000 people per day.

The current drought-related food crisis has affected other countries in the Horn of Africa, including northern Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Djibouti – where large areas are classified as being in a state of humanitarian emergency.

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BNO NEWS) — Pakistan’s Punjab government has been accused of criminal negligence for not being transparent about the ongoing dengue fever outbreak which has infected thousands of people.

The Pakistani Health Department said that as of Saturday, as many as 1,513 dengue fever patients have recovered. According to the department, 80 percent of the cases had been reported in posh areas such as Defence, Model Town and Cantonment.

Advocate Noshab A Khan told the Pakistan Tribune that while the Health Department has reported over 1,000 cases, family physicians and more than 100 private hospitals in Lahore have diagnosed some 2,000 cases. He said the outbreak has worsened because it has not been properly controlled.

Noshab A Khan added that not enough platelet kits needed for treatment are available and that the fumigation campaign is of poor quality.

As of Monday, one person has been killed as a result of the dengue fever outbreak. The country’s Health Department has ordered an investigation into the fatal case of Saeed Anwar, who died in Lahore General Hospital.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif called on officials from different departments to increase health measures to fight the virus and directed them to purchase additional medicine. He also called for pesticides to be administered in residential areas and streets.

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.

4 September 2011

Khartoum — Darfur rebels today urged international community to impose a no-fly zone and to establish safe corridors to provide civilians, in the Blue Nile, Darfur and Southern Kordofan, with humanitarian assistance.

They also urged democratic forces to join them in their efforts to change Bashir’s regime.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) who are fighting against the Sudanese government in Darfur since 2003 agreed recently with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to establish an alliance to overthrow the regime but they are still discussing the place of the religion in the post-Bashir state.

Abdel Wahid al-Nur, leader of a SLM faction and Ahmed Hussein Adam external relations adviser for JEM leader denounced “the aggression” of the Sudanese army on the SPLM-N in the Blue Nile. Both said that the attack is part of a premeditated plan, prepared by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) aiming to spread “chaos and killing” over all the Sudan.

They further said the regime of President Omer Hassan al-Bashir is an obstacle for peace and security not only in Sudan but for the whole region. “This regime is too deformed to be reformed,” said Ahmed Hussein Adam.

Abdel-Wahid who refuses to negotiate with the government since 2006, said “this regime used to dishonour any political agreement it signs and what is happening confirm what he have been saying.”

Abdel-Wahid and Ahmed called upon the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly-zone on Blue Nile, Darfur, and Southern Kordofan “to stop the ongoing aggression against the civilians populations”. They further urged to establish humanitarian corridors and protected zones to to populations caught in violence in the three regions.

The Sudanese government refuses to allow an action by international aid groups or open camps for the civilians displaced by the fight in Blue Nile or Southern Kordofan saying they do not want to repeat the situation of Darfur. Only the government controlled bodies distribute the humanitarian assistance.

On the internal front, Darfur rebels and the SPLM-N are discussing the formation of a political and military coalition to fight the Sudanese regime in Khartoum. The talks are stalled over the issue of religion. The SLM factions insisted particularly on the need for a total separation between the state and religion while JEM says the citizenship should be prioritized.

“The secular state is our vision and ambition” said Abdel Wahid who appealed on the other political forces to share with him this vision and to topple down the regime of the National Congress Party.

“The JEM is now working closely with SPLM and with other resistance movements and the democratic forces to counter the current wave of terror and go further to forge a new inclusive alliance to lead the efforts of the Sudanese for a democratic change,” stressed Ahmed Hussein Adam.

Yasir Arman yesterday said that the SPLM-N would seek to solidify the strategic alliance it forged with Darfur rebel groups. Arman revealed that a meeting took place on Friday between him, the SLM leaders Abdel-Wahid al-Nur and Minni Minnawi and Mansour Abdel Gadir who represented JEM.

The SPLM and Darfur groups called on the other democratic forces in the North Sudan to join them in this alliance. But President al-Bashir who chairs the NCP also sought to mobilize the other political forces. He held a meeting on Sunday with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani, the Umma National Party (UNP) of Sadiq Al-Mahdi and other small forces to brief them on the latest development in the Blue Nile.

Both sides seek to convince the opposition parties to support his position. However, the main Democratic forces particularly, the DUP and UNP reject the military action against the regime but refuse to support Khartoum and demand democratic reforms and a negotiated settlement for Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan conflicts.

Source: allAfrica.