London – The strong growth of the manufacturing sector in 2013, particularly in the automotive, aerospace and electronics fields, helped consolidate Morocco’s balance of trade, says London-based think tank the Oxford Business Group.In recent years, the proliferation of manufacturers, both foreign and Moroccan, generated new sources of revenue from exports, which should help reduce the budget deficit, says OBG in a recent study.The value of auto exports grew 23.2 pc over the year to € 2.7 billion in 2013. In addition, exports of aeronautics grew by 20 per cent (717 million euros) while those of the electronics industry increased by 11.6 pc (697 million euros), the study said. The sustained increase in industrial exports is partly explained by the presence of major foreign players such as Canadian company Bombardier and French automaker Renault, OBG experts say, noting that the expanded network of suppliers of cable components in Tangier and Casablanca also weighed in the balance of trade of the Kingdom.
Rabat- King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan will pay an official working visit to Morocco on March 10-12 at the invitation of King Mohammed VI, the Ministry of the Royal Household, Protocol and Chancellery announced Sunday.“On this occasion, HM the King will hold official talks with His illustrious guest,” the ministry pointed out in a statement.“The Sovereign will also offer an official dinner, at the Royal Palace in Casablanca, in honor of HM King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, and their accompanying delegation,” it added.
Rabat – Lamia Bazir, the President of the Al Akhawayn Alumni Association, delivered an inspirational speech at the 19th Commencement of Al Akhawayn University (AUI) on June 11.This speech received 20 000 views on Facebook.Many public figures attending the event, including André Azoulay, Advisor to King Mohammed VI, and Abdelatiff Jouahri, Governor of Bank Al Maghrib. In her speech, Lamia Bazir sent a strong message about the true meaning of leadership, asserting that it goes beyond titles and positions. She urged graduates to not get absorbed by the pursuit of titles and hierarchies, but rather to concentrate on the quality of their work, and get back to the source of leadership.Together with her new board, as the new President of the AUI Alumni, Lamia Bazir aims to unify her community of more than 4,000 alumni, reinforce their position in the job market, and improve their role as a vibrant force in Moroccan society.The graduation was attended by prominent figures on the Board of Trustees of AUI, including Mr. Azoulay; Mr. Jouahri; Mrs. Amina Benkhadra of the National Bureau of Petroleum and Mines; Mr. Mohamed Kettani, CEO of Attijariwafa Bank; Mr. Tariq Sijilmassi, President of the Directorate of Crédit Agricole du Maroc (CAM); Mr. Abdellatif Guerraoui, CEO of Auto-Hall Group; Mr. Ali Fassi Fihri, Director General of Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEEP); Ms. Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun, Administrator of Holmarcom Group and President of the Confédération Générale des Entreprises du Maroc (CGEM);, Mr. Mohamed Berrada, Professor and Former Minister of Finance; Mr. Larbi Belarbi, Former Vice President of Renault Maroc Services; and representatives from the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, and Higher Education.
Rabat – Moroccan authorities on Saturday seized more than 800 psychotropic tablets and arrested a man at the border crossing point of Bab Sebta (north of Morocco), customs sources said.Customs services seized 879 psychotropic tablets which were concealed in the handbag of a Spanish national of Moroccan origin who intended to smuggle the banned substance into Morocco via the occupied city of Sebta, according to the same sources.The suspect was handed over to Tetouan’s judicial police for further investigation.
London – Newcastle United have completed the signing of Moroccan left-back Achraf Lazaar, the club said in its official website.Lazaar, 24, joins the club from Italian club Palermo on a five-year contract.Lazaar came through the youth set-up at Italian club Varese and spent two years in the first team before joining Palermo in January 2014, initially on loan. He helped the Rosanero win Serie B at the end of his first season and has been a regular in the top flight, making a total of 76 appearances and scoring three goals during his time at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.“I am very happy to be at Newcastle United,” said Lazaar.“I’m proud to sign here because Newcastle is a great team in England,” he added.Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez added: “Achraf is a good, young player with international experience who has grown his game in Italy.“He gives us width on the left, has a good left foot and will add great competition to the squad,” Benitez pointed out.With MAP
Rabat – Morocco and the United States are organizing an international seminar in Marrakech for March 15-16 to fight arms trafficking affecting land and sea borders. Representatives of the security services of 60 countries in Africa and the Middle East will participate.The meeting will bring together government representatives and weapons experts from Morocco and the United States, but also from Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and EEAU. Representatives of international and regional organizations will also be present.The seminar is organized as part of the US Department of State’s “EXBS” program, which aims to regulate trade and transfer of dual-use goods and technology such as weapons of mass destruction. It is hoped the meeting will deepen regional expertise in matters of transhipment. The objective is to develop a transit/transhipment manual, while examining the various regulatory channels for transhipment trade. According to a US official statement, Morocco and the United States are determined to “participate actively in the joint efforts to prevent weapons and arms-related items illicit trafficking, including dual-use goods and necessary materials for the development of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.”Because of its geographical position, Morocco has an important role to play against arms trafficking, notably by strenuously controlling part of the Strait of Gibraltar and its coastal and land borders in the South.According to the same source, the Marrakech conference will be an opportunity for the US State Department to present its “Export Control and Border Security (EXBS)” program.
Rabat – In 2020, the city of Khouribga will acquire a major project: the largest phosphate pretreatment facility in the world. Located in Oulad Farès, this gigantic project, realized by the OCP group, will require an investment of MAD 3.5 billion.The project will involve the development of a stock of raw phosphate storage and retrieval, three washing lines, flotation and grinding workshops, a decanter for the evacuation of sludge, and dykes for the spreading of sludge and for the recovery of water.This new facility , which will be highly automated, will also allow the recycling of 80% of used water, and the creation of 1,200 million working days and 200 direct jobs. The OCP board also plans to invest a total of MAD 16 billion in the Beni Mellal-Khénifra region to finance 12 projects, including the phosphate pretreatment facility, which were the subject of an investment agreement signed a few days ago in Béni Mellal between the government and the phosphate group.The committee also agreed on 8 projects as part of an additional investment agreement. This agreement will cover the exploitation of new mines, the development and expansion of phosphate wells and the construction of large-scale hydraulic and electrical installations (wastewater treatment plants), the CRI-BK said in a statement.These projects, which are part of the industrial development strategy of the OCP Group, will enable the creation of 3 million working days during the implementation period and, above all, will increase the production capacity and treatment of the Khouribga area to 38 million tonnes per year by 2025, compared to 18 million tonnes at present.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Latest on an oil leak near St. Louis (all times local):12:15 p.m.TransCanada says its Keystone pipeline is likely the source of an oil leak near St. Louis.Spokesman Terry Cunha in a Friday statement said crews continue to excavate the St. Charles County area where the leak was discovered Wednesday. He said TransCanada’s preliminary investigation points to Keystone.A spokesman for Enbridge Inc. said it’s “highly confident” that its nearby Platte pipeline wasn’t the source.The leak prompted closures of sections of both the Keystone and Platte pipelines.Enbridge spokesman Devin Hotzel said Friday that the company expects its pipeline will be operating normally by Saturday.Cunha says there’s no estimated time for the Keystone pipeline to return to service.The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has estimated that about 43 barrels, or 1,800 gallons (6,814 litres), of oil leaked. It said the oil did not get into any waterways.___noonEnbridge Inc. says it’s “highly confident” that its Platte pipeline wasn’t the source of an oil leak near St. Louis.TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline also runs through the area where the leak occurred . A spokesman for the company didn’t immediately return an Associated Press request for comment Friday.A Missouri Department of Natural Resources spokesman says excavation of the Keystone pipeline in St. Charles County will begin Friday.The leak was discovered Wednesday. It prompted closures of sections of both the Keystone and Platte pipelines as crews sought out the source.Enbridge spokesman Devin Hotzel said Friday that the company expects its pipeline will be operating normally by Saturday.The Department of Natural Resources has said the oil did not get into any waterways.The Associated Press
Rabat – Hostility may ratchet up again between Royal Air Maroc and its pilots in the Moroccan Association of Airline Pilots union (AMPL).Local media reported on Saturday that the crisis between RAM and AMPL may continue as pilots voted against an agreement introduced by the state-owned air carrier and the union in mid-August.In July, the company experienced a wave of protests from pilots who were calling for a pay raise. The pilots also called for the reestablishment of a school of aviation in Morocco after the closure of RAM’s training center for pilots in 2014.The protests resulted in the delay and cancelation of more than 12 flights a day for nearly a month.RAM and AMPL said that they reached an agreement in mid-August to end the crisis.The deal aimed to focus on recruitment to end the shortage of pilots.RAM noted that the company-funded training center for pilots “is no longer a priority.”The deal entailed that “recruitment needs will continue to be satisfied through partnerships with foreign training institutions.”The agreement also gave pilots four days off monthly, in addition to the traditional two days off per week, a pay raise, and a grant to pay a third of pilots’ training fees.However, of the 426 members of the AMPL, 359 pilots voted against the agreement.On September 18, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani inaugurated the Moroccan Private Aviation Academy (MAPA) in Benslimane, near Rabat.El Othmani said that the project is set to meet the growing needs of the aviation industry.The school will offer training to pilots and aviation maintenance technicians to address the shortage.According to El Othmani, Africa will need some 4,900 pilots in the coming years, as well as a large number of technicians.The project benefits from government assistance.
MILAN — The European carmakers’ association says new passenger car sales in the region dropped by 4.6 per cent in January, weighed down by big declines in Spain and Italy.Despite the drop, the association said Friday that the 1.2 million cars sold last month in the European Union marked the second-best January since 2009. It compared with 1.25 million a year earlier.German manufacturer Volkswagen registered a 6.5 per cent decline in sales, but maintained its dominant 24-per cent market share. Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles saw sales decline 15 per cent.French carmakers PSA and Renault limited their drops to 2 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively. Luxury carmaker Daimler saw sales drop 1.3 per cent while BMW slid by 2.7 per cent.Demand dropped off by 7.5 per cent in Italy and 8 per cent in Spain.The Associated Press
RIEGELWOOD, N.C. — Federal authorities say they’ve reached a proposed settlement with two companies for the cleanup of a former chemical plant near the Cape Fear River.The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release Thursday that the settlement was reached with Honeywell International Inc. and International Paper Co. The companies have agreed to treat, store and dispose of soils and sediments contaminated by metals that include mercury and PCBs.The settlement says the from 1963 to 2000, the LCP-Holtrachem plant made chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, liquid chlorine, hydrogen gas, liquid bleach and hydrochloric acid at the plant in Riegelwood in Columbus County, adjacent to the Cape Fear River.A federal court must approve the settlement.The Associated Press
BISMARCK, N.D. — The Latest on a court dispute involving Greenpeace and the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline (all times local):8:45 a.m.Greenpeace is dropping an effort to move a lawsuit alleging it conspired against the Dakota Access oil pipeline from North Dakota state court to federal court.Greenpeace had cited federal law dealing with court jurisdiction to try to get the state case moved to federal court, where the group had already prevailed against racketeering claims alleged by Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners.ETP disputed Greenpeace’s argument that federal court had jurisdiction over its latest lawsuit. Greenpeace attorneys in a late Friday filing acknowledged the company was correct and agreed to leave the lawsuit in state court.ETP maintains Greenpeace and others should be held responsible for trying to disrupt pipeline construction and damage the company’s reputation and finances. Greenpeace accuses ETP of using the legal system to bully critics.___8:10 a.m.Greenpeace is seeking to move a lawsuit alleging it conspired against the Dakota Access oil pipeline from North Dakota state court to federal court.The environmental group has already prevailed in federal court against racketeering claims alleged by Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners.ETP sued Greenpeace in state court when a judge tossed out its federal case after finding no evidence of a co-ordinated criminal enterprise.Greenpeace is citing federal law dealing with court jurisdiction to try to get the state case moved to federal court. ETP is fighting the effort, saying Greenpeace’s argument is baseless.ETP maintains Greenpeace and others should be held responsible for trying to disrupt pipeline construction and damage the company’s reputation and finances. Greenpeace accuses ETP of using the legal system to bully critics.The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Top officials from the U.S. and Mexico will begin talks in a scramble to fend off President Donald Trump’s threat of devastating tariffs on the southern ally and meet his demand for fewer migrants at the border.Trump is heading to London for a long-planned overseas trip, leaving others to stem a potential trade crisis. It’s unclear what more Mexico can do to satisfy the president. Trump’s Republican allies warn the tariffs on Mexican imports will hit U.S. consumers and harm the economy.On Monday, Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez plans talks with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Two days later, delegations led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard will also meet in Washington.Lisa Mascaro And Hope Yen, The Associated Press
The world needs “new thinking and a new inclusiveness” to tackle the perils of climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, marking World Environment Day with a call for urgent global action that takes into account the needs of the world’s least affluent countries.“Solutions to global warming proposed by developed nations cannot come at the expense of less fortunate neighbours on the planet,” Mr. Ban wrote in an opinion column for The International Herald Tribune.Noting that global warming “affects us all, yet it affects us all differently,” he said wealthy nations already have the resources and know-how to adapt to global warming.“An African farmer, losing crops or herds to drought and dust storms, or a Tuvalu islander worried his village might soon be under water, is infinitely more vulnerable.”Mr. Ban, who is travelling to Heiligendamm, Germany, for a summit meeting this week with leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations, noted that the United States and European countries were proposing contrasting strategies for dealing with climate change.“We shall see how all this unfolds… But let us remember. A G8 agreement that is not global in scope cannot hope to offer solutions to a global problem. It is time for new thinking and a new inclusiveness.”He welcomed US President George W. Bush’s recent declaration that he would launch a US climate initiative, but urged that it take place within the UN’s global framework for discussion.Mr. Ban stressed that “the science is clear” on climate change, with every day bringing new evidence of both its growing impact and its principal cause – humans – and the need for urgent action.“Today’s solution du jour – the rage for carbon trading – is but one weapon in our arsenal,” he wrote. “New technologies, energy conservation, forestry projects and renewable fuels, as well as private markets, must all be part of a long-term strategy. So must adaptation. After all, mitigation can only go so far.”He added that he would soon announce the details of a special high-level meeting on climate change, to be held in New York in September before the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.Recently, he appointed three special envoys, tasked with speaking out for the interests and concerns of nations most vulnerable to climate change, home to the vast majority of the world’s people. In a separate message issued to mark World Environment Day, the Secretary-General said there are many policy and technological options available to avert the impending crisis, but increased political will is needed to use them. Developed countries in particular can do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage energy efficiency, he said. They can also support clean development in fast-growing economies such as Brazil, China and India, as well as adaptation measures in those countries that face the greatest hardships from climate change.Everyone must recognize the need to slow the momentum of the dramatic environmental changes that are taking place around the globe, he added. 5 June 2007The world needs “new thinking and a new inclusiveness” to tackle the perils of climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, marking World Environment Day with a call for urgent global action that takes into account the needs of the world’s least affluent countries.
The MDG Africa Steering Group was set up by Mr. Ban after a report in June showed that despite faster growth and strengthened institutions, Africa at its present rate would fail to achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000.“It is an unprecedented gathering bringing together the heads, the apex I would say, of the entire international development system,” UN Development Programme (UNDP) official Guido Schmidt-Traub told a news briefing today.The inaugural meeting will bring together leaders from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission, the African Union, the African Development Bank, the UN Development Group, which is chaired by UNDP, and the Islamic Development Bank.The meeting will focus on three objectives: the international system’s support for African governments in implementing practical programmes to achieve the MDGs in five areas – health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and food security; the need to ensure aid predictability so that African governments can plan years ahead for additional hospitals, schools and training doctors, teachers and nurses; and enhancing collaboration among the Group’s members at the country level.Mr. Schmidt-Traub noted that the June report highlighted some of the success stories coming out Africa. “There are actually quite a few,” he said. “That is the good news and the challenge now is to scale up these success stories, and that can be done simply by implementing existing commitments.“The key message today is that existing commitments if fully implemented are enough and sufficient to achieve the MDGs in the whole of Africa and so the focus now has to be squarely on implementation,” he added.In all cases, the concerted follow-through needs to be broader, more effective and scaled up, he stressed. “The meeting itself will focus on getting a fuller understanding of the objectives and then really deciding on how to follow through,” he said.The follow-through will be led by a second group called the MDG Africa Working Group, led by the Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, which will meet for the first time on 20 September, involving senior operational leaders of the Group’s organizations plus other bodies such as the 30-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of industrialized, market-economy countries. Successes cited by the June report included the expanded AIDS treatment, increased agricultural productivity, rising school enrolment and access to water and sanitation. These “demonstrate that rapid progress is possible when sound national policies are met with full support, including increased development assistance, from the international system,” the Group said in a media advisory. Stressing the need for predictability in aid, it noted that although the G8 summit of industrial nations in 2005 promised to increase Official Development Assistance to Africa to $50 billion annually by 2010, African countries still do not know how this promise will translate into their country-level budgeting flows. 12 September 2007With the whole of sub-Saharan Africa currently off track for meeting a single one of the ambitious goals the world has set itself for slashing poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy by 2015, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening an unprecedented meeting of development leaders on Friday to put the continent back on the rails to progress.
19 September 2007The United Nations atomic watchdog agency, best known seeking to combat nuclear proliferation and terrorism, has a major role to play in feeding the world’s burgeoning population, the top UN agricultural official said today. “We believe in the peaceful use of nuclear technology as applied to areas such as agriculture, crops, fighting disease, and soil and water management,” UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jacques Diouf said, citing his agency’s 40 years of cooperation with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).Addressing the IAEA’s Scientific Forum in Vienna, Mr. Diouf described the millions of hectares of higher-yielding and disease-resistant crops gained through radiation-induced mutations, the improvement of livestock and agriculture by eradicating insect pests such as the screwworm, tsetse fly and the fruit fly with the sterile insect technique (SIT), and isotopic techniques to enhance water use efficiency and crop productivity.With SIT, radiation is used to sterilize otherwise healthy insects, which are then released to mate without producing offspring, thus controlling and gradually eradicating the pest population. The tsetse fly carries trypanosomosis, also known as sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease that is a major constraint to sustainable development, affecting both humans and livestock.“We obviously need to grow more food, and to do so in a sustainable manner and in full respect of plant and animal biodiversity,” Mr. Diouf said, noting that with less than 10 years to go until the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to slash global hunger and other social ills, the problems facing the world in the areas of food and agriculture remain enormous.“There are 854 millions of hungry people presently in a world population of 6 billion, expected to reach 9 billion persons by 2050,” he added, hailing the joint FAO/IAEA programme, Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, as one of the best examples of inter-agency cooperation in the UN family.He said the MDGs could still be reached, “but only if we redouble our efforts and focus them in locations and on actions where they can make a concrete and significant difference in a relatively short period of time.”The two-day Forum coincides with IAEA’s 51st General Conference. Wheat from Peru, tsetse fly traps from South Africa, and a sediment corer from the Caribbean were among the many hands-on-items at an exhibit showcasing the varied work of IAEA technical cooperation with countries and regions around the world.The exhibit – Technical Cooperation: Delivering Results for Peace and Development – focuses “on concrete and tangible results” that Agency projects have delivered to people around the world, IAEA Technical Cooperation Head Ana Maria Cetto said. “It offers a snapshot of IAEA projects at both the national and regional level – projects which are making a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis.”
Taiwan, Province of China, deserves to become a Member State of the United Nations, the Foreign Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis told the General Assembly today – a position disputed by the Beijing Government, which says a 1971 resolution on the matter settled it permanently.Timothy Harris told the Assembly’s annual high-level debate, being held at UN Headquarters in New York, that “it is of grave concern that the 23 million people of Taiwan have been denied the right of participation in the UN and its related bodies.”The “exclusion and isolation continued even more aggressively” during the annual session of the Assembly that ended last month, he said. “There were even attempts to muffle the voices of the friends of Taiwan when they implored the UN family to recognize that they are a disenfranchised people.”Dr. Harris said the UN has to remain open for all States to become members of the Organization.“Experience has shown that membership of the United Nations is not a deterrent to unification – see, for example, East Germany and West Germany. Nor is it the panacea to fragmentation as some have argued with the deconstruction of the former Soviet Union.”He added that “Taiwan has shown that it can be a true partner in development,” and its assistance to poor nations as they strive to reach the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their target date of 2015 could be extremely useful.Last month, after a marathon debate involving 140 speakers, the Assembly decided for the fifteenth consecutive year to exclude a bid by some Member States to discuss the representation of Taiwan, Province of China, in the world body.In his address to the high-level debate last Friday, China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory” and his country would not permit any challenge to the one China principle or the 1971 Assembly resolution on the issue.Any attempt to change the situation was doomed to failure, Mr. Yang said, adding that he hoped Member States “will not allow themselves to be manipulated by the Taiwan authorities.”The Foreign Minister stressed: “We will never allow anyone to separate Taiwan from China in any name or in any way.” 2 October 2007Taiwan, Province of China, deserves to become a Member State of the United Nations, the Foreign Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis told the General Assembly today – a position disputed by the Beijing Government, which says a 1971 resolution on the matter settled it permanently.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched its annual painting competition for children, calling for artwork from youth on the subject of climate change, ranging from its impact on the planet to steps everyone can take, such as using renewable energy and energy-saving light bulbs, using public transportation and planting trees.The agency is urging youngsters around the globe between the ages of 5 to 13 to take part in the 18th International Children’s Painting Competition, which this year is focusing on the theme “Climate Change: Our Challenge.”The contest – organized by UNEP, Japan’s Foundation for Global Peace and Environment, Bayer and Nikon Corporation – is gaining momentum every year, with a record 15,550 entries from 90 countries submitted last year.One global winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize, while one winner each from the six regions – Africa, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America – will receive $1,000 each.All winners will receive fully paid trips, along with a chaperone, to next year’s Tunza International Children’s Conference, where the 2009 global winner will be announced. 17 July 2008The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched its annual painting competition for children, calling for artwork from youth on the subject of climate change, ranging from its impact on the planet to steps everyone can take, such as using renewable energy and energy-saving light bulbs, using public transportation and planting trees.
17 April 2009The United Nations envoy to Somalia today condemned the latest spate of violence aimed at members of the strife-torn nation’s fledgling Government after unidentified gunmen shot dead a lawmaker and attempted to kill a member of Cabinet this week. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said the attacks in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, were aimed at delaying work to restore peace and the adoption of Sharia law by the Parliament.The UN-facilitated Djibouti Agreement aided the formation of a new Government of National Unity in February, as well as the creation of a newly-expanded Parliament and election of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in the Horn of African nation, which has been ravaged by factional conflict since the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991.Deploring the attacks, the Special Representative noted that those behind these violent acts are desperate. “They are aware of the positive steps made by the Government and its efforts to respond to the wishes of the people and the region.”“Their real objective is to denigrate Somalia’s image in the region and further abroad and to keep the country in the state of lawlessness that has benefited them for the past 20 years,” stressed Mr. Ould-Abdallah, adding that he had confidence they would not succeed.The insurgents have not only been condemned by the international community and the Somali leadership, but by their own people, he stated. “Those who carry out these attacks against Somali Moslems will not escape the justice of God or of men.”The attacks on Wednesday and Thursday this week, come after a roadside bomb injured the Interior Minister and killed one of his assistants in Mogadishu at the end of March.
Rwandan rebels are now surrendering at a rate of 146 fighters a month, according to the UN mission in the DRC (MONUC), with more than 660 heeding the mission’s call to return to civilian life since the start of this year, along with 1000 of their dependents.This past weekend, another 10 members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) surrendered to a joint UN-Congolese army patrol near Goma. The rebels brought with them 31 of their dependents along with a sizable arsenal of weapons, MONUC said.The mission said the new additions to its disarmament program are now being processed for repatriation to Rwanda. It called on remaining FDLR fighters to follow suit, offering them and their families a chance for a decent future and stressing that life in the bush will only become more and more difficult from now on.The voluntary disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and rehabilitation (DDRRR) programme for the ex-militia is managed by MONUC, while civilians are repatriated by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).The FDLR and other Rwandan militias have been a key factor in the resurgence of violence in North Kivu province, where over 100,000 civilians have been uprooted by fighting in the past two months, in addition to the many hundreds of thousands previously displaced.The ethnic Hutu rebels, who recently carried out a wave of retaliatory attacks against civilians after being targeted by a joint Congolese and Rwandan military offensive, have been operating in eastern DRC since the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda. 27 April 2009The number of Rwandans laying down their arms and leaving militias that terrorize civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has multiplied four-fold on a monthly basis compared to last year, the United Nations reported today.