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Archive for Africa

Newsline: Eritrea summons German ambassador

The Eritrean foreign ministry summoned Germany’s ambassador to its offices earlier this week over DW’s reporting on the country. Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel on Monday claimed that DW — Germany’s state-owned international broadcaster — was engaged in an “unbridled smear campaign” against Eritrea. In its response, the German Foreign Ministry described the broadcaster as “an independent media outlet that works to high journalistic standards.” “Press freedom is a valuable asset and prerequisite for a functioning democracy,” the ministry, which gave no further details about the ambassador’s meeting, said in a statement on Wednesday. (https://www.dw.com/en/eritrea-summons-german-ambassador-over-dw-coverage/a-50955944) DW has not issued a formal response on the matter.

Newsline: Zimbabwe was not evicted from its London embassy

Zimbabwe House is still listed at 429 Strand. AFP in London also visited the building and saw that the embassy was operating as normal. (https://factcheck.afp.com/no-zimbabwe-was-not-evicted-its-london-embassy-it-owns-building) The building was erected in 1908 to serve as headquarters for the British Medical Association. The government of Southern Rhodesia had acquired the British Medical Association Building in the Strand and remodelled it into offices for its London representatives. It’s been known as Zimbabwe House since the country’s independence in 1980. Prior to that, it was known as Rhodesia House. Zimbabwe House is also a Grade II* listed building on the National Heritage List for England – that grading means it’s an important building of more than special interest. According to the UK Land Registry, Zimbabwe House belongs to the Zimbabwe government.

Newsline: US reopens embassy in Somalia after nearly three decades

The United States has reopened its embassy in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, nearly three decades after it was shut as the Horn of Africa nation plunged into civil war. Washington closed its embassy during the 1991 overthrow of then-President Siad Barre’s military regime which ushered in decades of chaos. However, diplomatic relations have strengthened in recent years. “Today we reaffirm the relations between the American people and the Somali people, and our two nations,” said Donald Yamamoto, the US ambassador to Somalia, in a statement. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/reopens-embassy-somalia-decades-191003100027583.html) “It is a significant and historic day that reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years, and another step forward in regularising US diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognising the federal government of Somalia in 2013,” he added.

Newsline: Handbag designer Marks appointed U.S. ambassador to South Africa

Luxury handbag designer Lana Marks has been appointed U.S. ambassador to South Africa, the U.S. embassy said on Friday. Marks was born in South Africa and speaks Afrikaans and Xhosa, the White House has said. The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination, which President Donald Trump put forward last year. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-safrica-usa-diplomacy/handbag-designer-marks-appointed-u-s-ambassador-to-south-africa-idUSKBN1WC0V3) Washington has had no ambassador in South Africa since Patrick Gaspard left in December 2016, with its mission being overseen by a chargé d’affaires. The website for Marks’ firm offers handbags for up to $20,000 and says they have become favorites for celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Kate Winslet and Madonna.

Newsline: Property spat strains already frayed Kenya-Somalia relations

A Kenyan contractor has accused the Somali Embassy in Nairobi of detaining and torturing a process server who attempted to deliver court filings from an ongoing suit, further straining frayed diplomatic relations between the two countries. Amos Mutambu claims to have been stopped from leaving the Somali Embassy in Nairobi moments after he had served the consulate with court papers at their offices off Dennis Pritt road in Nairobi, on September 2. He has made the detention claims in court filings as well as in a protest letter sent on September 4 to the Kenyan Foreign Affairs and International Trade Secretary, Monica Juma. (https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Property-spat-strains-already-frayed-kenya-somalia-relations/4552908-5272896-g4e6b5/index.html) Mr Mutambu had been sent by HMS Advocates to deliver pleadings in a court dispute between a Kenyan contractor and the Embassy, arising from alleged renovation works carried out on an old Somali government-owned property in Nairobi.

Newsline: China’s Ambassador to South Africa Attacks Trump Over Trade

Lin Songtian, China’s ambassador to South Africa, took out a half-page advertisement in a key local newspaper to attack the stance of the U.S. and President Donald Trump on global trade. In a paid-for editorial in Business Day, South Africa’s biggest financial newspaper, Lin said bullying by the U.S. will drive the world into a “severe recession” and accused Trump of capriciousness. “The Chinese culture emphasizes that ‘gentlemen keep their words.’ Honoring the promises and commitments is the basic ethical code and requirement for state leaders and businessmen,” he said in the advert titled ‘Voice of China.’ His comments were also published in the Star newspaper. “The president of the U.S. runs his country according to his own will, dictates the world through Twitter and changes his position overnight,” Lin said. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-10/china-s-s-africa-ambassador-says-u-s-follows-law-of-the-jungle) The column, part of a drive by Beijing to have its ambassadors speak out globally, reflects the deteriorating relationship between the world’s two biggest economies.

Newsline: Career diplomat turned Sudan’s first female foreign minister

Asma Mohamed Abdalla, a seasoned diplomat who was sacked decades ago by now ousted leader Omar al-Bashir, has become Sudan’s first female foreign minister as the country transitions to civilian rule. Born in 1946, Abdalla was sworn in on Sunday as a member of the country’s new 18-member cabinet, the first since Bashir was overthrown by the army in April. Bashir, who had seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, was deposed following months of nationwide protests against his ironfisted rule. Dressed in a white traditional Sudanese tobe and wearing spectacles, Abdalla took the oath as foreign affairs minister at the presidential palace along with 17 other ministers. The swearing-in ceremony was held in the presence of members of the joint civilian-military ruling sovereign council, including its chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Abdalla, whose studies were partly in the United States, was one of the first three women to join Sudan’s foreign ministry as a diplomat after graduating from Khartoum University in 1971 with a degree in economics and political science. But she was sacked in 1991 by the then administration of Bashir, who had seized power two years before in a coup. (https://news.yahoo.com/abdalla-career-diplomat-turned-sudans-first-female-foreign-101500987.html) Abdalla’s appointment is part of new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s plan to have a government made up of technocrats and one that reflects gender balance.