Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias to visit Nigeria (9-10.01.2022) and Angola (10-12.01.2022)

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, will travel today, Sunday, January 9, 2022, to Nigeria and on Monday, January 10, 2022, to Angola, where he will hold meetings with senior officials of both countries.

While in Nigeria, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected to meet with his counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama. Following their talks, the two Foreign Ministers will sign a Memorandum of Bilateral Cooperation.

During his stay in Nigeria, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias is also expected to meet with the Minister of State for Health, Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, and then with the Vice President of Nigeria, Oluyemi Oluleboy “Yemi” Osinbajo.

On Tuesday, January 11, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will be in Angola where he is expected to meet with his counterpart, Tete António.

Following their talks, the two Foreign Ministers will sign a Memorandum of Bilateral Cooperation. Joint statements to the press are expected to follow.

Minister of Foreign Affairs is then expected to meet with Minister of Health, Silvia Lutucuta. Afterwards, he will visit Lubango Sports School where a Greek donation will be made, in the presence of Deputy Minister for Youth, Fernando Francisco João.

On the same day, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will hold a meeting with Minister of State for Economic Coordination, Manuel José Nunes Júnior.

On Wednesday, January 12, Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected to be received by the President of the Republic of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço.

The aforementioned talks in both Nigeria and Angola, which are part of a broader plan to further develop Greek foreign policy on the African continent, will focus, inter alia, on regional and international developments, our joint effort to tackle the pandemic, as well as on strengthening political and economic bilateral relations with emphasis on investment.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected to highlight Greece’s foreign policy priorities, which are based on adherence to International Law and good neighbourly relations.

In this context, he is expected to refer to challenges in our neighbourhood, as well as to our candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2025-26 term.

As part of Greece’s continued assistance to third countries in combating the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected to announce the donation of COVID-19 vaccines: 900,000 doses to Nigeria, through the COVAX Facility, and 100,000 to Angola.

Tanzanian wildlife authorities to auction 75 tourist hunting blocks

DAR ES SALAAM— Tanzania’s wildlife authorities announced on Saturday the auctioning of 75 tourist hunting blocks in 2022.

The Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) said in a statement that the tourist hunting blocks will be auctioned in game controlled areas, open areas and game reserves.

The TAWA said in the statement that the auctioning that will take seven days will start on Jan 12.

The statement said eligible hunting companies can be allocated up to five hunting blocks each, which shall be of different categories.

In February 2021, the TAWA said 10 firms had applied to operate 10 tourist hunting blocks through electronic auctioning.

Imani Nkuwi, TAWA deputy commissioner for tourism and business services, had told Xinhua that initially the TAWA had announced 30 vacant hunting blocks but the number was reduced to 10.

In March 2020, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism postponed the electronic auctioning of the vacant hunting blocks.

The decision was made due to market instability caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.


AU chief commends release of opposition political figures in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA— Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Saturday commended the release of senior opposition political figures detained in Ethiopia.

“The Chairperson welcomes this important gesture of appeasement of the political situation in Ethiopia,” an AU statement read.

The statement came after the Ethiopian government on Friday released high-level and senior opposition party members who were in prison over the past years.

Among those released include Sibhat Nega, former senior leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel group currently engaged in a deadly conflict with the Ethiopian government. Nega was detained during the early days of the ongoing conflict that started in November 2020.

According to the chairperson of the pan African bloc, the move will trigger a political process, paving the way for the implementation of a genuinely inclusive national dialogue process for the peaceful and consensual solution to the political and institutional problems facing the federation.

Mahamat further encouraged all the actors to engage in it with courage and determination while assuring them, to this end, of the resolute support of the African Union.

Among the released also include Jawar Mohamed, Eskinder Nega and Bekele Gerba — influential opposition political figures in Ethiopia.

Upon announcing the decision, the Ethiopian government said “the key to lasting unity is dialogue. Ethiopia will make any sacrifices to this end.”

It said Ethiopia’s problems need to be addressed in a comprehensive dialogical approach.

“The Ethiopian government took the initiative to pardon some prisoners for the betterment of the political situation,” the statement from the Ethiopian Government Communications Service read.

It said that a National Dialogue Commission has been set up to deal with contemporary political issues in the country and unresolved discourses in the East African country.


UN Women sets the theme for 2022 International Women’s Day

UNITED NATIONS— The United Nations Women have set the theme for International Women’s Day, as “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” which will be marked by a high-level virtual event on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, the President of the General Assembly, the Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Executive Director of UN Women as well as gender equality and climate change activists and celebrities will participate.

“Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach,” the UN Women stated in a document.

According to the UN Women, the theme is aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 66th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66): “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes”.

The day would be used to recognize the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.

The UN Women document also acknowledges that advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.

According to the UN Women, the issues of climate change and sustainability have had and will continue to have severe and lasting impacts on the environment, economic, and social development.

The UN Women noted that women are increasingly being recognized as more vulnerable to climate change impacts than men, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most.

At the same time, women and girls are effective and powerful leaders and change-makers for climate adaptation and mitigation. They are involved in sustainability initiatives around the world, and their participation and leadership result in more effective climate action.

According to the UN Women, continuing to examine the opportunities, as well as the constraints, to empower women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality.


Denmark frees suspected pirates in dinghy in Gulf of Guinea

COPENHAGEN— Three suspected pirates who were detained for six weeks on a Danish warship off West Africa’s coast have been released at sea in a small dinghy.

The three were captured in November after a fatal exchange of fire in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Danish Armed Forces said they had failed to find a country in the region which would take the alleged pirates.

So the decision was taken to release the men near Nigerian waters, with enough food and fuel to get to shore.

According to Danish authorities, a shootout took place on Nov 24 after suspected pirates attacked a container ship.

Four of the men were killed by the Danish military – which is in the area as part of an operation to protect shipping amid heightened security risks from pirates – while a fifth person fell overboard.

Four others were detained on the Danish navy ship. They were accused of attacking the Danish soldiers first – something they deny.

However, only one of the suspects – who was taken to Ghana where his leg was amputated – has been transferred to Denmark to face a charge of attempted manslaughter.

The Danish Justice Ministry said they did not feel it was possible to safely release him at sea. Charges against the other three were dropped, their lawyers said.

But Birgitte Skjodt, the lawyer of the detained suspect, criticised the decision to still press charges against him, telling local media: “It simply cannot be right to treat the four people so unequally.”

Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup defended Denmark’s decision, saying that it would deter other pirates from attacks. He added that if they had sent the men to Denmark, then there was a “risk that they would not subsequently be deported”.

This is the first time Denmark has extradited a piracy suspect to its territory. It has no agreement regarding extradition with the countries along the Gulf of Guinea coast.

The Gulf of Guinea – with its tankers carrying oil and gas – has been known as a piracy hot spot for some years.

Political instability, the lack of law enforcement and poverty on land are other factors which have contributed to the increase in piracy in the area.

But efforts by national authorities and foreign naval ships to step up security efforts in the region have increased.