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Archive for Africa

Newsline: Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Calls US Ambassador a ‘Thug’

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party spokesman Patrick Chinamasa lashed out at the U.S. government and U.S. Ambassador Brian Nichols. Chinamasa claimed the U.S., through Nichols, was backing Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, via anti-government protests scheduled for Friday. “If he continues to engage in acts undermining the republic, mobilizing and funding disturbances, coordinating violence and training insurgency, our leadership will not hesitate to give him marching orders,” said Chinamasa. “Diplomats should not behave like thugs and Brian Nichols is a thug … We remind Nichols that he is not a super diplomat in this country. … We have nothing to learn from the United States.” (https://www.voanews.com/africa/zimbabwes-ruling-party-calls-us-ambassador-thug-tensions-rise) Tensions with Zimbabwe surfaced after the U.S. Embassy last week spoke out against police arresting a prominent journalist and an opposition leader. The U. S. Embassy in Harare had no immediate reaction to the remarks or the threat to expel Ambassador Nichols.

Newsline: Turkey to open embassy in Togo

Turkey will open an embassy in the West African country of Togo, the Turkish foreign minister announced. After meeting with Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe in the capital Lome, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey will further develop its bilateral relations with Togo. He said during the meeting, the sides talked about how to improve relations and when the new embassy will be opened. (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkey-to-open-embassy-in-togo-foreign-minister/1916792) Since 2003, Turkey and dozens of African countries have mutually opened embassies. Cavusoglu added that the sides also talked about organizing flights to Togo by Turkish Airlines (THY) as well as cooperation on security and education. Cavusoglu arrived in Togo Monday as the first stop on a three-nation West African tour, to be followed by Niger and Equatorial Guinea.

Newsline: South Sudan Diplomat Urinates During Live Panel Discussion

A South Sudanese diplomat in the United States sparked an online uproar when he was seen urinating during a live Facebook political discussion. Panelists were discussing the appointment of a governor for Upper Nile state when Gordon Buay, South Sudan’s deputy ambassador to the U.S., was seen walking to the bathroom wearing only a shirt and relieving himself, in full view of all other panelists. (https://www.voanews.com/africa/south-sudan-focus/south-sudan-diplomat-urinates-during-live-panel-discussion) The video went viral, with many social media users calling on Buay to step down. Some commentators accused Buay of being intoxicated during the panel discussion, noting that he was shouting at other panelists. While some of the panelists appeared shocked to see Buay relieve himself, a few smiled and laughed. The video was removed from Youtube but a clip was shared widely on social media minutes after organizers removed the original video. Buay posted a message on his Facebook page urging people not to believe what he called a “fake video.” Buay did not respond to numerous attempts by VOA’s South Sudan in Focus to reach him for comment. South Sudanese government officials have also declined to comment.

Newsline: Foreign Ministry appoints Israel’s first-ever Bedouin ambassador

The Foreign Ministry appointed Ishmael Khaldi as Israel’s first Bedouin ambassador on Sunday, to represent the country in Eritrea. Khaldi hails from Khawaled in northern Israel, where he was a shepherd while growing up. He began working for the Foreign Ministry in 2004, serving as Israel’s vice-consul to San Francisco, a diplomat at Israel’s embassy in the UK, where he fought delegitimization, and as an adviser to then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman. Last month, Khaldi filed a complaint with the police against security guards at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, who he said knocked him down and kneeled on his neck until he yelled that he cannot breathe. (https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/foreign-ministry-appoints-israels-first-ever-bedouin-ambassador-633961) In 2015, Khaldi was summoned from London to Israel over Facebook posts saying some Israelis hate Arabs “more than antisemites hate Jews” and complaining that Israel cared more about convicted spy Jonathan Pollard’s release than Bedouin villages. In 2017, he faced disciplinary measures after he threatened to take Israel to the International Court of Justice and accused the Zevulun Regional Council and Israel Lands Authority of “Bedouin heritage cleansing” because the council planned to sell plots in the village to people from outside the village. The Foreign Ministry appointed several other ambassadors on Sunday, to UN institutions in Geneva, the OECD in Paris, South Korea, Finland, Serbia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Uzbekistan and Nepal, as well as a consul-general in Boston.

Newsline: Russia to reopen embassy in Libya

Russia has decided to reopen its embassy in Libya although its head will temporarily be based in neighbouring Tunisia, Interfax news agency cited Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Friday. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-russia-diplomacy/russia-to-reopen-embassy-in-libya-ifax-cites-foreign-minister-idUSKBN2441AJ) Libya has been split since 2014, with the internationally recognised government based in the capital, Tripoli, and the northwest while military leader Khalifa Haftar in the country’s second city Benghazi rules the east. Russia evacuated its diplomats from Libya in October 2013 after an armed faction attacked its embassy in Tripoli. Lavrov, speaking at a meeting with the speaker of Libya’s pro-Haftar eastern parliament Aguila Saleh, reiterated Russia’s desire for a cessation of hostilities in Libya and the beginning of political dialogue.

Newsline: Man claims U.S. Embassy in Cameroon fired him after filing sexual harassment complaint

A former employee at the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon claims he was fired because he filed a sexual harassment complaint against his male supervisor. Julius Banka in a lengthy statement he sent to the Washington Blade says he was a warehouse supervisor at the embassy in the Cameroonian capital of Yaoundé from February 2009 until his termination on June 14, 2018. Banka in a complaint he sent to the embassy’s Equal Employee Opportunity office on May 15, 2018, alleges his supervisor, William McllWain, “wanted me to be his gay partner and when I refused, he started retaliating.” (https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/07/03/man-claims-u-s-embassy-in-cameroon-fired-him-after-filing-sexual-harassment-complaint/) “I am straight,” Banka told the Blade last week. “I am not a gay and I have never been a gay … I don’t want to be a gay ever.” The EEO complaint, which Banka provided to the Blade, does not contain anything that specifically says McllWain wanted to enter into a relationship with him.

Newsline: Ghana apologises to Nigeria for embassy demolition

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has apologised to Nigeria after a building inside the Nigerian High Commission compound in Accra was demolished. Mr Akufo-Addo has ordered an investigation, a statement from the Nigerian government said after his call with President Muhammadu Buhari. Armed men reportedly stormed the compound last week and destroyed buildings under construction. Two people have been arrested over the incident. They have been charged with Unlawful Entry And Causing Unlawful Damage. A businessman who had previously claimed that he owned the land where the building was being put up had led the demolition operation, according to an article posted on the Nigerian High Commission website in Ghana. “The man showed up last week with some papers to support his claim and began to knock down the fence surrounding the building,” the article quotes a source at the ministry of foreign affairs as saying. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53148609) Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said a bulldozer was used during the 19 June incident which destroyed two residential buildings. He called the demolition “outrageous and criminal” and urged Ghanaian authorities to protect Nigeria’s diplomatic buildings.

Newsline: US ambassador to Guinea dies

Simon Henshaw, the U.S. ambassador to Guinea, died Tuesday evening, the State Department said. “The U.S. Embassy Conakry community regrets to inform that Ambassador Simon Henshaw passed away this evening at home,” the U.S. Embassy in Conakry, Guinea, tweeted Tuesday. “We are deeply saddened and express our most heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.” (https://thehill.com/policy/international/africa/502043-us-ambassador-to-guinea-dies) In a statement to The Hill on Wednesday, the State Department said it has not yet confirmed a final cause of death but that initial indications suggested natural causes. Henshaw, a career diplomat who joined the State Department in the mid-1980s, was nominated for the ambassador post by President Trump.

Newsline: Chile to shut down its embassies in Greece, Denmark, Algeria, Syria and Romania

The Chilean ambassadors of Greece, Denmark, Algeria, Syria and Romania were informed, that they will have to finish their affairs before the end of the year, 24 Horas reported. The closure of the embassies are occurring in order to provide a greater national presence in Brussels, considered the unofficial capital of the European Union, as well as in Vienna (Austria). (https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/06/08/chile-to-shut-down-its-embassy-in-athens/) The measure was taken by Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera, after the Strategic Planning Directorate asked to evaluate the political, economic and development relevance of the different nations where Chile has embassies.

Newsline: Zimbabwe summons US ambassador over protests comments

Zimbabwe summoned the US ambassador in Harare after US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien referred to the nation as a foreign adversary and suggested it was taking advantage of protests over the killing of George Floyd to foment unrest. In response, Ambassador Brian Nichols released a striking and personal statement drawing on Floyd’s death to call on the Zimbabwean government to end its violence against activists and to hold those who perpetuated such crimes accountable. Nichols met with Zimbabwean Foreign Minister S.B. Moyo “amid a painful, sad and infuriating week,” he said in the statement Monday. The meeting came a day after O’Brien included Zimbabwe in a catalog of “foreign adversaries” who he said, without presenting evidence, were “going to take advantage of this crisis to sow discord and to try and damage our democracy.” (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/01/politics/zimbabwe-ambassador-statement/index.html) A State Department spokesperson confirmed that Nichols and Moyo met to discuss O’Brien’s remarks. Nichols said in his statement that “George Floyd’s brutal killing, hundreds of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people succumbing to a global pandemic, the crushing economic cost of lockdowns borne by the poorest among us, remind us that we cannot wait for justice or to recognize each other’s humanity.”