Weekly anb06144.txt #8

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 14-06-2001      PART #4/8

* Congo (RDC). Rebel fighting imperils Beni residents - On 12 June, Human Rights Watch said that residents of the eastern Congolese town of beni are caught in the crossfire of week-long violent clashes between two competing rebel factions, with many civilians killed and injured. beni is the administrative capital of parts of northeastern Congo occupied by Uganda and nominally controlled by the Ugandan-backed rebel Front for the Liberation of Congo (FLC). The clashes have erupted between opposing factions of the Army for the Liberation of Congo (ALC), those loyal to the FLC's leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, and those loyal to Mbusa Nyamwisi, a local rebel leader who had left thee town soon after joining forces with the FLC. (HRW, 12 June 2001)

* Congo (RDC). L'opposition accuse la Belgique - Alors que l'on s'attend à ce que les autorités belges annoncent bientôt des progrès vers une reprise de la coopération d'Etat à Etat, l'opposition congolaise, dans une lettre datée du 7 juin, prend publiquement position contre cette politique. Le document est signé par les principaux ténors de l'opposition congolaise: Etienne Tshisekedi (UDPS), Catherine Nzuzi wa Bombo (MPR), Joseph Olenghankoy (FONUS), François Lumumba (MNC), Justin Bomboko et Cléophas Kamitatu. Les signataires accusent la Belgique "d'encourager, par ses démarches politique, économique et diplomatique actuelles, la partition du Congo" et demandent aux partenaires du Congo de "s'abstenir de poser des actes qui relèvent de la coopération structurelle avant l'aboutissement des travaux du Dialogue intercongolais". (La Libre Belgique, 12 juin 2001)

* Congo (RDC). Prolongement de la mission de l'ONU? - Le mardi 12 juin, la France a prôné l'introduction d'une résolution prolongeant la mission de maintien de la paix des Nations unies au Congo d'un an, afin qu'elle puisse surveiller le bon déroulement du désarmement des combattants de la guerre civile. Le projet de résolution, présenté aux membres du Conseil de sécurité mardi, soutient la recommandation du secrétaire général Kofi Annan de maintenir les 5.537 hommes de la force onusienne de maintien de la paix, parmi lesquels on compte 500 observateurs. Le Conseil doit se réunir mercredi sur le dossier du Congo, et votera la résolution vendredi. (AP, USA, 12 juin 2001)

* Djibouti. Des rebelles remettent leurs armes - L'application de l'accord de paix conclu le 12 mai entre le gouvernement de Djibouti et les rebelles du Front pour la restauration de l'unité et la démocratie (FRUD) progresse. Le 7 juin, plus de 1.200 hommes fidèles au mouvement ont remis leurs armes aux autorités dans les districts de Tadjourah et d'Obock (190 et 300 km au nord de la capitale). L'entente a mis fin à dix ans de conflit entre forces gouvernementales et le FRUD, dirigé par Ahmed Dini, Premier ministre au lendemain de l'indépendance en 1977. (Misna, Italie, 8 juin 2001)

* Djibouti. Impoverished groups hit by border closure - There had been further impoverishment of vulnerable groups in the north, by the border closure between Djibouti and the self-declared independent state of Somaliland, northwestern Somalia, the joint European Commission and UN Food and Agricultural Organisation monthly Food Security Report noted in June. It said that in Awdal Region, near the Djibouti and Ethiopian borders, the poor food-economy group, who rely on petty trade, had felt the impact of the border closure, as all locally produced cereals and vegetables were usually marketed in Djibouti. Imported food commodity prices were expected to further increase in the coming months because of the seasonal monsoon closure of the seaports in Somalia. Over the last six months, the price of fuel had dramatically increased, especially diesel, which had affected mechanised agriculture, water pumping and transport. Concern had been expressed "from many quarters" over poor crop conditions, especially in the northern production areas of Hiran, Gedo, Bay and Bakool. (IRIN, Horn of Africa, 11 June 2001)

* Egypte. Le pont suspendu de Suez - La construction du pont suspendu de Suez, reliant le Sinaï au reste de l'Egypte, est achevé. L'idée de ce pont était née en 1990. Après 7 ans d'études, sa construction avait commencé en juin 1997. Le pont a été financé par l'Egypte et le Japon. 60% du coût général du projet est un don du gouvernement japonais. La hauteur du pont est de 70 mètres à partir de la surface du canal de Suez. Sa longueur est de 9,5 km et sa largeur de 20 mètres. Il reste à faire des travaux de finition. L'inauguration est prévue le 6 octobre prochain. Tout comme le pont Al-Ferdane, qui traverse également le canal de Suez et qui est destiné au passage des trains, le nouveau pont est destiné à servir le projet national pour le développement du Sinaï, où 3,5 millions de citoyens devraient s'installer. (D'après Al-Ahram hebdo, 6-12 juin 2001)

* Egypt. Microsoft links with Egypt - Microsoft Corporation, the computer software giant, on 11 June teamed up with LinkdotNet, an Egyptian internet service provider, to launch the Arab world's first international web portal. MSN.Arabia.com will come online in September and will carry content in both Arabic and English. LinkdotNet, which says it is the largest private ISP in the region, will develop the content in both Cairo and Dubai. Both Microsoft and its Egyptian partners say the web portal will provide e-commerce opportunities to small local companies unable to spend lavishly on marketing and advertising. Companies will also have access to the 1.8m Arab users of Hotmail, Microsoft's free e-mail service. Although still small, internet use in the Arab region is growing fast. (Financial Times, UK, 12 June 2001)

* Eritrea. President sacks dissenters - Two of Eritrea's top ministers have been sacked after being openly critical of President Afewerki. the official statement simply stated that there was a new Minister of Fisheries and a new Minister of Trade and Industry. Both the former Minister for Fisheries, Petros Solomon, and the Trade and Industry Minister, Haile Woldensae, were founding members of the Eritrean Liberation Movement which now rules the country. They were widely considered to be two of the most capable men in the government and have previously held the highest ministerial posts. (BBC News, UK, 11 June 2001)

* The Gambia. Press complains to UN team - On 8 June, members of the Gambian press complained to the visiting two-man United Nations delegation of their ordeal at the hands of the Gambian government. Robin Ludwig, senior political adviser, Electoral Assistance Division, at the UN Department of Peace-keeping Operations, and her colleague, Christian Nadeau, are on a week-long visit to the country aimed at assessing the country's electoral process leading to presidential polls in October. The UN team disclosed at the 8 June press briefing that their visit was in connection with an invitation extended to the UN by The Gambia's Independent Electoral Commission, following the UN secretary-general's discussions with the Gambian authorities during his visit last year. The UN delegation said their findings would determine whether or not the UN would send observers to monitor the forthcoming general elections. (The Daily Observer, The Gambia, 11 June 2001)

* Ghana. Military backs government - Ghana's armed forces have taken exception to comments made by former President Jerry Rawlings and restated their allegiance to the man who replaced him. Mr Rawlings said on 4 June that his successor, John Kufuor, did not have the confidence of the military. But a statement issued by the high command on 7 June said the armed forces were behind the country's new leader.The statement said: "The Ghana Armed Forces are prepared to defend the constitution of Ghana at all times." Mr Rawlings caused controversy in his speech marking the anniversary of the first of his two coups. (BBC News, UK, 7 June 2001)

* Ghana. "Leave Ghana alone" - On 12 June, a coalition of democratic organisations went on a peace march in Accra to present a resolution to the Speaker of Parliament against a speech delivered by the NDC leader, ex-Flt. Lt. Rawlings on June 4, 2001. The march started from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and ended behind the Accra Sports Stadium in a mini rally after which representatives of the coalition went to Parliament, less than a kilometre away to present the resolution. A last minute attempt by the Chief of Staff, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, to stop the march was flatly rejected by the huge crowd, which had assembled. The resolution stated that "The Coalition for the Defence of Democracy, concerned about the security of the state, and the threats against the security, nation unity and democracy inherent in the speech of former President J.J. Rawlings at the Arts Centre, Accra on June 4, 2001 (transcript of speech attached), wishes on behalf of the people of Ghana, to draw attention to the following:- (1) That the people of Ghana, already reeling from the effects of a strangulating economic and political regime imposed by the PNDC and NDC under ex- President Rawlings, need the peace and tranquillity to go about the enormous task of re-aligning and rejuvenating the economy; (2) That the economy under ex-President Rawlings has been mismanaged, while the political aspirations of the people have been suppressed; (3) That the nineteen (19) years of the Rawlings regime has been full of broken promises and a complete betrayal of the self-proclaimed principles of probity, accountability and transparency; (4) That the PNDC and NDC governments under former President Rawlings, apart from the dismissal of over 200,000 workers, was the most corrupt government in the history of Ghana; (5) That former President Rawlings has a hidden hatred for multi-party rule which he has consistently sought to undermine. (...) (Accra Mail, Ghana, 13 June 2001)

* Kenya. Cabinet reshuffle brings in Opposition - 11 June: President Moi has reshuffled his cabinet, appointing opposition party lader Raila Odinga as Energy Minister. This is the first coalition government in Kenya's history. The National Development Party leader has been detained three times by President Moi's government in the past. Another opposition member, Adhu Owiti, will head the Planning Ministry. The NDP has been cooperating with the ruling party and there has been talk of a merger ahead of general elections due by the end of 2002. (BBC News, UK, 11 June 2001)

* Kenya. Gouvernement de coalition - Le président Moï a remanié son gouvernement en l'ouvrant à deux membres de l'opposition. Un leader historique de l'opposition, Raila Odinga, du National Development Party (NDP), est appelé à diriger le ministère de l'Energie, et un autre membre de ce parti, Adhu Owiti, est nommé ministre de la Planification. Selon les observateurs, cette ouverture serait liée à la récente visite au Kenya du secrétaire d'Etat américain Colin Powell. (D'après Misna, Italie, 11 juin 2001)

* Kenya. Rumania sends missionaries to Kenya - The Church in Rumania, a former Communist country, is sending out missionaries to Africa. Bishop Petru Gherghel of Iasi Diocese has made a missionary commitment with Kenya's Diocese of Marsabit. Bishop Gherghel has sent two priests to work in Maikona Parish of Marsabit. This is the first time that the Church in Rumania has taken such a commitment in Africa. Rumania has eleven Catholic dioceses: 6 are Latin, and 5 are Greek Catholic. (CISA, Nairobi, 11 June 2001)

* Kenya. 12 more join review team - On 11 June, twelve new commissioners joined the expanded Constitution of Kenya Review Commission. This brings the toal number of the law review commissioners to 27. The 12 names were nominated by the Ufungamano Initiative and the Parliamentary Select Committee. Their appaointment has been cleared by President Moi. (Daily Nation, Kenya, 12 June 2001)

Weekly anb0614.txt - #4/8