Mozambique’s President Assures Western Energy Companies of Security in Troubled Region

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi has called on Western energy companies to resume work in Cabo Delgado Province, saying security has improved around the town of Palma. But clashes are continuing between federal forces and other African allies against Islamist militants.

Addressing the Mozambique Gas & Energy Summit in Maputo Wednesday, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi assured foreign investors the security situation in troubled northern Cabo Delgado Province had improved.

He said locals were returning to the town of Palma and other areas they had abandoned because of terrorist attacks.

Nyusi urged Western energy companies to do the same. He said the success in combating the terrorists in the districts of Mocimboa da Praia and Palma improved stability since the attacks on the town of Palma.

But insurgent attacks last week spread to Mozambique’s northern Nampula Province.

Authorities said the militants attacked several villages, beheaded six Mozambicans, killed an Italian nun, abducted three people and torched scores of homes.

The Islamist militants are linked to Islamic State and call themselves al-Shabab, though they have no direct connection to the Somali militant group by the same name.

In March 2021, France’s Total Energies halted exploration of a major gas field and a $20 billion plant in northern Mozambique after Islamist militants’ attacks.

There was no immediate response from the energy companies to Nyusi’s call to return.

Total Energies’ CEO said in April the company did not expect to resume work in Mozambique, which has Africa’s third largest-known gas reserves, until 2023.

Cabo Delgado Province has suffered increasingly violent attacks by the insurgents since 2017, many targeting towns and communities near the gas project.

Critics blame the project for stoking the insurgency by not investing enough to develop the impoverished region.

The conflict has left thousands of Mozambicans dead and more than 800,000 displaced.

Troops from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community have helped retake towns from the insurgents but have not been able to contain or end the fighting.




Source: Voice of America

Spain, Mali FMs speak after row over NATO remarks

BAMAKO— Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said he had spoken with his Spanish counterpart after a row over comments the Spaniard made about the possibility of a NATO operation in the African


Diop wrote in a tweet that he had spoken by phone with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares about the comments, which were made in a radio interview.

“He denied the remarks and expressed his attachment to friendly relations and cooperation with Mali,” wrote Diop.

Spain moved to calm the row Saturday, a day after a day the military regime in Bamako had summoned their ambassador for an explanation.

“Spain did not ask during the NATO summit or at any other time for an intervention, mission or any action by the Alliance in Mali,” said a statement from Spain’s embassy.

The row blew up over remarks by Albares in an interview Thursday with Spain’s RNE radio.

Asked if a NATO mission in Mali could be ruled out, Albares said: “No, we can’t rule it out.

“It hasn’t been on the table at the talks in Madrid because this is a summit that is laying out, so to speak, the framework for NATO action.

“If it were necessary and if there was to be a threat to our security, of course it would be done,” he added.

Albares was speaking on the sidelines of the NATO summit as it drew to a close in Madrid.

Diop had told state broadcaster ORTM on Friday that Bamako had summoned the Spanish ambassador to lodge a strong protest over the remarks.

“These remarks are unacceptable, unfriendly, serious,” said Diop, because “they tend to encourage an aggression against an independent and sovereign country”.

“We have asked for explanations, a clarification of this position from the Spanish government,” he added.

At the Madrid summit, Spain pushed hard to prioritise the topic of the threat to NATO’s southern flank caused by the unrest in the Sahel — the vast territory stretching across the south of Africa’s Sahara Desert, incorporating countries such as Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Jihadist attacks there are pushing increasing numbers of people to flee north towards Europe, with Spain one of the main points of entry there.

At the summit, NATO acknowledged the alliance’s strategic interest in the Middle East, north Africa and the Sahel.

Mali has since 2012 been rocked by jihadist insurgencies. Violence began in the north and then spread to the centre and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.


Zimbabwe to open new US$160m Parliament built for free by China

HARARE— China has in recent years, built a number of Parliaments for African countries.

The latest is in Zimbabwe, where China gifted the southern African nation its new US$160 million complex.

“It took 42 months to complete the project, instead of the original 32-month timeframe due to COVID-19 disruptions. Construction began in November 2018.

“Sitting on the historical Mount Hampden Hill, about 18 km northwest of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, the six-story building is a fine piece of magnificent architecture that fuses both Zimbabwean and Chinese characteristics,” a report by China’s state-owned Xinhua Net said.

“It’s just one of many jewels in China’s ‘palace diplomacy’ crown in Africa, there are reported to be more than 180 such projects,” journalist Nancy Kacungira tweeted about the facility.

Here are some others:

. In 2003, China committed US$18 million for a new parliament building in Guinea-Bissau. It was completed two years later. China had already built the country’s national stadium and a government palace.

. In 2010 China handed over a $41 million parliament building to Malawi’s government.

. China built and funded the US$200 million headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa. In 2019 Beijing dismissed reports by Le Monde that China put bugs in walls and desks and downloaded data from their servers every night for five years.

. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is similarly getting a new headquarters building in Abuja worth $31.6 million, courtesy of China.

. Burundi inaugurated a $22 million presidential palace in 2019, fully funded and built by China. It was presented as ‘a symbol of friendship and cooperation’ between the two countries.

. China gave parliament buildings to Lesotho in 2012, and in 2017 and 2019, pledged to rebuild parliament buildings for Gabon and Sierra Leone as well.

. China had a gift for Republic of Congo too, donating a parliament building in the capital Brazzaville at a cost of US$58m.


ECOWAS Commission to get new head as Ivorian Brou leaves post

ACCRA— President for the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, has indicated that the upcoming 61st Ordinary Session of the Heads of State to be hosted in Ghana on Sunday, July 3 in Accra, would be his final session presiding over the Council of Ministers.

He made this pronouncement during his opening remarks at the 88th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers summit.

Kassi Brou expressed gratitude for the support, undying sacrifices and accomplishments from the community members towards the development of ECOWAS. However, he admonished member States to strive for advancement and more developmental accomplishments for the betterment of the community.

“This session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers is the last to be attended by the Commission over which I preside. I would therefore like to express, on behalf of the Institutions, statutory appointees and staff of the Community, our utmost gratitude for your support and guidance throughout these four years. Thanks to your commitment, we have been able to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and continue the different activities of the Commission. This enabled us to make progress in carrying out our mandate in the service of the Community.”

“Throughout our tenure, we have made every effort to meet the expectations of ECOWAS leaders and people. As with any human endeavour, much has been achieved but much more remains to be done to actualise the ECOWAS Vision 2050, with the mantra:

“ECOWAS of the Peoples: Peace and Prosperity for All,” he said.

The President of the Commission of ECOWAS earlier tasked member States to review the security threats among other devastating crises affecting the growth and socio-economic conditions of the organization.

“Today’s meeting is characterised by the lingering security crisis in the frontline countries (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria) and in several coastal countries. These different crises, compounded by the devastating consequences of climate change, have resulted in a difficult humanitarian situation. Internationally, the crisis between Ukraine and Russia has had a significant impact on global inflation and the supply of basic commodities to our people and our economies,” he said.

He furthered, “During the two-day meeting, you will consider the reports presented to you on the management of our institutions and the activities of the various departments of the Commission. In particular, you will discuss the report on the state of the Community, the report of the Administration and Finance Committee, and the financial situation of the Community as at the end of May 2022. The Auditor General will also present a report on his activities for the year 2021, which will be followed by the report of the 47th Audit Committee.”


UN Condemns Protesters’ Storming of Libya’s Parliament

CAIRO — A senior U.N. official for Libya on Saturday condemned the storming of the parliament’s headquarters in the east of the oil-rich country as part of protests in several cities the previous day against the political class and deteriorating economic conditions.

Hundreds of protesters marched in the streets of the capital, Tripoli, and other Libyan cities Friday, with many attacking and setting fire to government buildings, including the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk.

“The people’s right to peacefully protest should be respected and protected but riots and acts of vandalism such as the storming of the House of Representatives headquarters late yesterday in Tobruk are totally unacceptable,” said Stephanie Williams, the U.N. special adviser on Libya, on Twitter.

Friday’s protests came a day after the leaders of the parliament and another legislative chamber based in Tripoli failed to reach an agreement on elections during U.N.-mediated talks in Geneva. The dispute now centers on the eligibility requirements for candidates, according to the United Nations.

Libya failed to hold elections in December, following challenges such as legal disputes, controversial presidential hopefuls and the presence of rogue militias and foreign fighters in the country.

The failure to hold the vote was a major blow to international efforts to bring peace to the Mediterranean nation. It has opened a new chapter in its long-running political impasse, with two rival governments now claiming power after tentative steps toward unity in the past year.

The protesters, frustrated from years of chaos and division, have called for the removal of the current political class and elections to be held. They also rallied against dire economic conditions in the oil-rich nation, where prices have risen for fuel and bread and power outages are a regular occurrence.

Protesters also rallied Saturday in Tripoli and several towns in western Libya, blocking roads and setting tires ablaze, according to livestreaming on social media.

There were fears that militias across the country could quash the protests as they did in 2020 demonstrations when they opened fire on people protesting dire economic conditions.

Sabadell Jose, the European Union envoy in Libya, called on protesters to “avoid any type of violence.” He said Friday’s demonstrations demonstrated that people want “change through elections and their voices should be heard.”

The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, urged Libyan political leaders and their foreign backers to work for a compromise to hold elections.

“It is clear no single political entity enjoys legitimate control across the entire country and any effort to impose a unilateral solution will result in violence,” he warned on Twitter following a call with Mohammad Younes Menfi, head of the Libyan presidential council.

Libya has been racked by conflict since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The country was then for years split between rival administrations in the east and west, each supported by different militias and foreign governments.

Source: Voice of America