Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias to participate in the Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh (Rome, 28.06.2021)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias will travel to Rome tomorrow, Monday, June 28, 2021, in order to participate in the Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh, co-hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Luigi di Maio, and the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

On the sidelines of this Ministerial meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected to hold bilateral meetings with Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, Aureliu Ciocoi, with Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo and Niger’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Massaoudou Hassoumi, whose countries are both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as with the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon Zeina Akar and Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the ceremony for the unveiling of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi (Athens, 26.06.2021)

“Your Excellency, Minister of External Affairs of India,

President Mr. Papandreou,

Mr. Mayor,

Your Excellencies,

Dear friends,

It is a special honour and pleasure for me to participate today in this special ceremony for the unveiling of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, in the center of the historic city of Athens.

The ceremony coincides with the visit to Greece of the Minister of External Affairs of India and friend, dare I say, of Greece, Dr. Jaishankar, visit that takes place after 18 whole years.

Yesterday and today, we had a series of particularly constructive meetings that encompassed the full range of our bilateral relations.

I am certain that Mahatma Gandhi will not feel uncomfortable in this place, in the center of the city of Athens. He will not feel any ‘loneliness’.

His statue is located very close to the Embassy of his homeland, India, to which he dedicated his life. But it will also be next to the thousands of Greeks passing through this point every day.

This “Great Soul”, as the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis previously said – this is the meaning of the epithet ‘Mahatma’ in Sanskrit – is not just the founding father of the Indian Nation. He is one of the world leaders of the 20th century and beyond, one of the most prominent figures in the history of mankind.

Future generations have a lot to learn from his legacy, his course of life.

One could talk for hours about his memory and what he contributed to human society.

But I think that words would not suffice. I would simply like to state our view that both Greece and India honour his memory in the most appropriate way: working constantly to promote world peace, stability, understanding between people and non-violence in relations between states.

Thank you very much”

France provides grant to Sudan to combat COVID-19

A humanitarian plane carrying three tonnes of medical equipment was received by representatives of the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs, and ambassadors of France and the EU, at Khartoum International Airport on Friday.

The equipment, which includes face masks, gloves, medical protective clothing, oxygen generators, medical devices, accurate COVID-19 test equipment, tents and medical kits for disposable vaccination centres, was granted to Sudan from France via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM).

The equipment will enable the Sudan’s government to set up mobile centres for COVID-19 vaccination and testing, in order to reach citizens in remote areas and combat the global pandemic.

On June 13, the leaders at the G7 summit in Cornwall, UK, agreed to donate one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses collectively to poorer countries over the next year. The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) welcomed the move but called for a faster timetable, while some critics said the move does not go far enough.

The first batch of 828,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Khartoum airport on March 3, making Sudan the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to receive vaccines via COVAX Facility. COVAX is a coalition co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Global Vaccines Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), that ensures equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to countries regardless of their income.

Source: Radio Dabanga

Geneva Palais briefing note on the worsening situation in Sub Saharan Africa as a result of secondary impacts of COVID-19

GENEVA- “Sub-Saharan Africa is in the throes of a deadly uptake in COVID-19. At the present rate of infections, the current surge will exceed the previous one within weeks. As more contagious variants spread, vaccines continue to be perilously slow in reaching Africa, and hospitals are pushed beyond capacity.
“Amid it all, the impacts on children continue to be devastating.
“So as to provide a very quick regional snapshot:
• In Uganda there has been a 2,800 per cent increase in new COVID-19 cases between March and June 2021. The availability of oxygen in Uganda become a life or death situation.
• Namibia, last week, had the highest death rate in Africa. Hospitals are full and there are not enough oxygen tanks. According to the Ministry of Health, Namibia is experiencing over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases each day and 30 deaths. That is a high death rate for a country of 2.5 million people.
• In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it’s an equally daunting picture – with low vaccination rates and poor health facilities.
• And in South Africa a third wave is threatening to be even worse than the previous two, stretching an already strained healthcare system. So far, only 2.5 million people have received at least one vaccination, from a population of around 57 million. And yet that’s one of the higher vaccination rates on the continent.
• Indeed, if we look at the situation across the world, there have been about 2.7 billion doses administered. Of these, around just 1.5% have been administered on the continent.
“What does all this look like for a child in Sub Saharan Africa?
“It looks like the loss of parents, and grandparents who care for so many children;
“It looks like less education and more abuse. COVID-19 has meant a devastating blow to education. For instance, UNICEF estimates 9 million children in Eastern and Southern Africa never returned to class as schools started opening;
“And now schools that re-opened are starting to close again;
“It looks – and feels – like more anxiety and stress for children, as isolation, confinement, and loss of income take their toll;
“It means worsening health care: antenatal visits, routine immunizations, and malaria treatments are down; in some countries by over 20 percent, leading to a reversal of positive trends;
“It means that poor nutrition, access and economic hardships are making it more difficult to address HIV/AIDS;
“And it equates to worsening gender-based violence, abuse, teenage pregnancies and child labour amid unprecedented economic strains.
“Indeed, the economic situation is causing poverty records to be shattered, and not a single country has been spared. An estimated 50 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty in Sub Saharan Africa since the start of the year.
“Child poverty has even further deteriorated. Based on national definitions, poverty rates among children in Sub Saharan Africa have jumped by 10 per cent since the start of 2020, and it’s getting worse.
“In response:
“UNICEF continues to support Governments, the World Health Organization and other partners to tackle the COVID-19 health crisis and the secondary impacts on children and their families, via:
• Procuring and delivering COVID-19 vaccines, especially for healthcare and essential workers;
• Strengthening healthcare and cold chain systems;
• Procuring oxygen tanks;
• We’re signing deals with manufacturers (e.g. Pfizer, AstraZeneca);
• We’re working with airlines to secure transport capacity;
• Even before COVID-19, UNICEF was already the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, procuring over 2 billion vaccines annually in order to reach almost half of the world’s children under 5;
• Advocating to governments to keep children in school or learning while at the same time supplying water and sanitation to schools across the continent;
• Increasing cash transfers to the most vulnerable, including by scaling up financing via a global funding facility, resourced by debt relief savings, international financial institutions funds and the fulfillment of official development assistance commitments by donor governments;
• Providing mental health and psychosocial support for children and their families;
• Preventing family separation and strengthen family and community-based care;
• Protecting children from harmful practices, such as child marriage.
“But much more must be done.
“Governments must prioritise keeping schools open and safe, which can be achieved by applying guidance including spacing, different shifts, masking and handwashing.
“But of course the clearest pathway out of this pandemic is a global, equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.
“Ultimately, the global vaccination race will be won when Member States make sustainable plans to fully fund and supply COVAX, while supporting the expansion of vaccine manufacturing capacity, including through proactive Intellectual Property licensing and technological transfer.
”These measures are critical, but they won’t change anything overnight. Immediately sharing available excess doses is a minimum, essential and emergency stop-gap measure, and it is needed right now. As is financing to support the roll-out of vaccines.
“As part of its annual Humanitarian Appeal for Children, UNICEF has called for US$ 659 million to help countries with the delivery of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic tools in 2021.“

Source: UN Children’s Fund

Djibouti National Day

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the people of Djibouti as you celebrate the 44th anniversary of your nation’s independence.
The United States and Djibouti are partners in fostering security, stability, and peace in the Horn of Africa. We commend Djibouti’s leadership in the region, from its hosting the Executive Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to its contributions to the African Union Mission in Somalia, and the important mediating role it plays.
We will continue to work with the government and the people of Djibouti to strengthen democratic institutions, expand economic opportunities, and advance our common interests.

Source: US State Department