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  • Statement by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the end of his visit to Egypt The European Union and Egypt have a long-standing relationship. We face common challenges and we need one another to address them. - The situation in the Mediterranean is, of course, particularly worrying. The crises in Syria and in Libya continue to persist and perspectives for improvement are not very optimistic. - The instability in our neighbourhood bears migratory and security consequences for both Egypt and the European Union. Our discussions, therefore, focused on the need to further enhance our cooperation. - We need to tackle the emergencies and to deal with the dramatic conditions of people, who embark on dangerous journeys to escape wars, seek international protection or simply look for a better life. - We also need to tackle the root causes of irregular migration: poverty, conflicts, lack of resources. - On April 23rd, the EU heads of state and government at the extraordinary meeting of the European Council agreed to take a number of concrete actions to address the migration challenges in the Mediterranean, including the strengthening of cooperation with our neighbours. - That is why the EU is more than ever ready and willing to strengthen ties with its Southern neighbours - Egypt in particular. - Cooperation with key partners will also be a cornerstone of the European Agenda on Migration that I will put forward in a few days. - DIALOGUE ON MIGRATION AND MOBILITY - To address all aspects of migration, we need to develop together a strategic approach. - Starting a new Dialogue dedicated to Migration and Mobility will help both Egypt and the EU to better understand each other, to identify the common challenges we face and to look for solutions in a spirit of shared responsibility. - We have had such Dialogues with Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan, which resulted in Mobility Partnerships. Last December we launched a Dialogue with Lebanon. - The way the EU and our neighbours manage migration is not only about preventing irregular migration. When we discuss migration and mobility we want to discuss the full spectrum of issues. - We want discuss how to guarantee international protection to those fleeing war and conflict, how to fight traffickers, and also how to create more possibilities for legal migration and labour migration. - KHARTOUM PROCESS - A few months ago we launched a joint initiative called EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative. This political process - the so-called “Khartoum process” - is a good example of dialogue and cooperation on migration and mobility, because it brings together countries of origin, transit and destination along the migratory route starting from the Horn of Africa to Europe. - We are now developing concrete projects for the Khartoum process and I hope that Egypt will continue to play a leading role. - At first, activities will concentrate on addressing the trafficking of human beings as well as the smuggling of migrants. Future projects could expand to other issues such as legal migration, irregular migration, migration and development and international protection. - SECURITY - For the EU, Egypt is also an important partner country in the field of security. We want to intensify our cooperation. - Tackling jihadism and radicalisation is a cross-border challenge. - The EU is very concerned with the rising threat linked to EU citizens fighting in Syria Iraq and elsewhere who return to Europe to perpetrate attacks or to radicalise others. I am sure Egypt shares the same concern and interest in preventing and countering the influx of violent extremists. - So we need to pool our expertise. Last week, I presented a European Agenda on Security with concrete actions, including stepping-up the fight against terrorism and radicalisation. - The Commission will set up a Centre of Excellence to collect and disseminate expertise on anti-radicalisation. This Centre will build upon our Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) which brings together first line practitioners to exchange experiences and best practices. - This is the kind of initiative we could look at together to deepen our cooperation...
  • FAO, EBRD and UFM seek to boost food security in the Mediterranean region A potato farmer in Tunisia. Growing fruit and vegetables is spurring booming exports from the southern Mediterranean. - 5 May 2015, Barcelona - Boosting sustainable agricultural production and trade is one of the main priorities for the southern and eastern rim of the Mediterranean, where most countries produce insufficient quantities of food staples. - For this reason, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) co-organised the "Private Sector Forum on Food Security in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region", a two-day conference (5-6 May) to deepen relationships between the public and private sector - from farmers and their organisations to small, medium and large agribusiness enterprises - and to develop initiatives to increase investment in agricultural and food systems. - Opened by Carlos Cabanas Godino, Secretary General at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Spain, the Forum has gathered high-level policy-makers, financial institutions and representatives from the private sector, research centres and academia. - The Forum offers the opportunity to discuss how the public and private sectors can collaborate to bolster food security in the region by enabling sustainable private investment in a region characterised by population growth, natural-resource constraints and a structural deficit in the production of staple foods. - Trade flows are growing - The countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean region import half of their basic crops. Imports of agricultural food products to the region have risen by $69 billion, or 63 percent, between 2002 and 2013. Meanwhile, exports have risen fivefold since 2000, to $31 billion, including dramatic increases in fruit and vegetable shipments to the Middle East and North African markets. - In 2013 the region imported 29 million tonnes of wheat. It is increasingly dependent on imports for key staples such as grains, sugar and vegetable oil, which supply the majority of calories consumed. Furthermore, moving grain from port to mill can cost up to four times more than the global standard, due to slow turnaround times for vessels, storage costs, and high product losses. - This high demand for basic food products is mainly due to rapid population growth in a region which has limited and fragile natural resources - in particular, land and water - and an acute vulnerability to climate change. The region also suffers from under-investment in agriculture and insufficient private sector participation. - During the Forum, participants will examine ways to tackle these challenges. Discussions will focus on how to boost local production of fruit and vegetables for export; further diversify import suppliers and export markets; enhance procurement policies supplemented by well-designed strategic-reserve policies; better structure food value chains; increase investment in research and development; and make import processes cheaper. Furthermore, stronger regional integration of agricultural markets would help countries cope with supply shocks and would mitigate changes in food prices. - At the Forum, EBRD Vice President Philippe le Houérou noted: "In recent years, food security has become one of the EBRD's priorities. A dynamic, competitive and inclusive agribusiness industry, driven by private sector participation, can be a powerful force to promote food security. In the next three years, the EBRD aims to invest over €300 million in the region's agribusinesses, from SMEs and family farms to larger agro-processing companies, to reinforce the private sector role in enhancing food security. We are also combining our efforts to put in place policies that encourage investment, to build more efficient import value chains, and to encourage more inter- and intra-regional trade, which will help achieve this potential." - Southern and eastern Mediterranean countries could shift shift from a model in which they seek to meet all of their own food needs, to an agricultural self-reliance model based on using comparative advantages. Under this model, export earnings generated by food products appropriate to the region are used to purchase imports of food goods that are not suited for local production. - Making the most of valuable water - While the Mediterranean region is an ancient agricultural heartland, it faces growing constraints on natural resources. Its population on the Southern and Eastern rim is expected to grow significantly, reaching 360 million by 2030. At the same time, climate-change forecasts suggest that precipitation levels in the region could decline by 10 to 40 percent by 2050. - "To become as efficient as possible, investments in the agricultural sector must make the best use of scarce natural resources in the region. For example, every drop of water has to be used with extreme care and to generate the highest possible value," said Laurent Thomas, FAO Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation. - He further noted: "FAO is active in providing policy and technical advice to member countries dealing with water scarcity as a corporate priority for the region, and I praise all actors investing in water-saving technologies. Other FAO priorities for the region include building resilience for food security and nutrition and supporting small-scale agriculture for inclusive development." - A forthcoming FAO analysis will show that natural-resource constraints support the region's comparative advantage in growing higher-value crops such as olives and other fruit and vegetables. Higher export levels of products in which the region enjoys a comparative advantage would also help cushion the effects of potential global food-price inflation such as the increases that shook much of the region in 2008. - Mobilising all private players, mapping priority initiatives - Although agriculture in the region is increasingly dynamic, it is also characterised by a myriad of smallholders and small rural enterprises. This profile poses a particular challenge for policy-makers. - "Youth employment is a burning issue in the region. We see agriculture as part of the solution because it can generate sustainable sources of income and jobs in rural areas," said UfM Secretary-General Fathallah Sijilmassi. "Small producers and enterprises should be properly included in agricultural food chains." He also noted that this Forum falls within the UfM strategy for private-sector development as a driving force to foster regional integration in the Mediterranean region. - As experience shows, agricultural economic growth is most effective when it is inclusive, allowing smallholders access to credit and market opportunities. Participants explored the role that cooperatives can play in procuring key inputs, and agreed that the domestic private sector can bring an array of innovative solutions to the region's food security equation. - To help realise that potential, FAO, the EBRD and the UfM have reiterated their willingness to ensure that the voices of the private-sector and farmers' organisations are heard in policy forums at regional and national levels. - Complementing the EBRD's promise of investment, the institutions are committed to mobilising technical assistance that can support policy platforms. - These platforms would consider issues such as Egypt's grain import infrastructure, Tunisia's olive oil sector, Morocco's horticultural sector, the role of cooperatives, as well as water-efficient technologies and agricultural practices across the region...
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  • Press Releases: Meet and Greet for Embassy Staff AMBASSADOR GODEC: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. - AUDIENCE: Good morning. - AMBASSADOR GODEC: (Speaks in Swahili.) - AUDIENCE: (Speaks in Swahili.) - AMBASSADOR GODEC: It is a great, great privilege and a pleasure for me this morning to welcome to the U.S. embassy here in Nairobi our Secretary of State, John Kerry. (Speaks in Swahili), Mr. Secretary. (Applause.) - Joining the Secretary are many other distinguished guests in his party: Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall, Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield, National Security Council Senior Director Grant Harris, and many, many others. Thank you all for coming. - Mr. Secretary, here are the staff, families – the children, particularly – welcome to all of you – from this mission. Joining us are our colleagues in Kisumu and CDC Nairobi. They are all doing extraordinary work each and every single day to advance and deepen relations between Kenya and the United States but also between Somalia and the United States. And they work on so many, many different things: They work on health care, on agriculture, on trade, on security. They take care of American citizens. They assist people with visas. They help refugees. They drive vehicles. They provide maintenance. They keep us healthy. They provide security for all of us. So many, many different things, and they do their work with passion, creativity, courage, and dedication, and I am very proud to have the opportunity to serve here with them as they do their exceptional and important work. - But Mr. Secretary, most importantly, they are here this morning to hear from you. So with that, and without further ado, thank you very much for coming. Again, (speaks in Swahili), Mr. Secretary. (Applause.) - SECRETARY KERRY: Bob, thank you very, very much. (Speaks in Swahili.) It’s a wonderful day to be here with all of you. (Speaks in Swahili.) (Laughter, applause.) - I’ll bet you’re just a little bit excited about President Obama coming, am I right? Absolutely. I understand you’re doing a lot of work to prepare for him. I want you to know he is very excited about coming back here, coming as President. You know he’s been here several times, but he’s very much looking forward to coming, and I am personally just overwhelmed by this panorama of people. You all work for the United States Embassy? (Laughter.) - It’s great to be here. What a wonderful, generous welcome. I’ll tell you, I served in the United States Senate for 28 years, just entering my 29th year, and it wasn’t – as a senator elected nowadays to the United States, you don’t always get quite such a nice welcome. (Laughter.) And I was walking through the airport in Boston one day. Anybody from Massachusetts here? How many people from Massachusetts? (Applause.) There. Not too many, wow. (Laughter.) Up here, yay. I just got informed – my day got ruined. I got informed that the Yankees swept the Red Sox and – (laughter, applause). Yeah. Not a good way to start the day. - But anyway, I was walking through the airport, and this guy recognized me, obviously. And sometimes you’d walk through and you’d kind of put your head down so somebody wouldn’t stop you, recognize you. And he says, “Hey you, hey. Hey you. Anybody ever tell you look like that Kerry guy down in Washington?” (Laughter.) And I said, “Yeah, they tell me that all the time.” And he says, “Kind of makes you mad, don’t it?” (Laughter.) So you gave me a much nicer, more generous welcome. I appreciate it enormously. - You are blessed to be led here by a terrific ambassador, one of our more experienced hands in the Foreign Service – who, by the way, almost missed out on the Foreign Service because he was late for his Foreign Service exam. (Laughter.) But he has served in Tunisia, he’s served in South Africa, he’s served on the South Asia and Southeast Asia and so forth. He’s really come to this job with great experience, and especially, he was here in 1998 and he comes back to Nairobi. So Bob, we’re delighted that you’re here. And Lori, thank you – a great Foreign Service officer in your own right. We’re delighted that you’re at the helm of this embassy, and I appreciate your work. Thank you. (Applause.) And well helped by DCM Isiah Parnell and many other folks who are doing the heavy lifting around here, and we thank you for that. - I understand that in this group, I have the largest number of people of any embassy I’ve been to, and I’ve now been to more than 60-some countries, so I’ve had a chance to visit with a lot of embassies. But we have 12 people who have worked here more than 30 years, which is pretty remarkable – local employees – and I want to thank them profoundly for all of us. But particularly, I understand we have two that I want to single out. Charles Ndibui is not here, I gather, but Russ LeClair is. I don’t know where Russ is. Where’s Russ? Somewhere – Russ. (Applause.) (Inaudible) served more than 40 – 40 years-plus for the United States. Thank you very, very much. Thank you. - And let me just say to everybody that when I single out a few folks, there is no way that any embassy could work anywhere without the incredible contribution of all the local employees. And we are particularly grateful to you because you bear our burdens and you work under two flags: the flag of your own nation, your love of your own country; but also your understanding of what another country is trying to do to help and be part of your future. And you have embraced that full-throatedly. So I want to thank you for all that you do to help us to be able to help you, to share our values, share our hopes, share our aspirations, share our interests, and to help to work for them. And I know every single member of our Foreign Service and civil service and all of the 28 United States agencies that are part of this great effort want to join me and President Obama in saying to all of you: Thank you for being part of this great journey. We are really appreciative. Thank you very, very much. (Applause.) - I am going to shortly have the privilege of going to Memorial Park and laying a wreath and meeting a few of the folks who were there and survived that terrible day in 1998. And I just want to say a special word about that and the world that we’re living in today by way of saying thank you to all of you for efforts. I’m here, as Bob said, with a very strong delegation, representing the folks in our – in the State Department: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, our assistant secretary; and Sarah Sewall, our under secretary; who have come joined with representatives from the White House and the rest of the Department, who are all here because of the importance of Kenya and the importance of Africa and the importance of the work that you are doing every single day to make a difference. - And given events here, particularly with Garissa most recently, of course the past history, we all, and you particularly, are living in a different context from almost any time previously. The world moves at a much faster pace. Not sure that’s altogether good all of the time. Called progress, but you can define it for yourselves. But the fact is that the average person wakes up every day and has more information coming at them, more instant live reporting from more places, so you get the tragedies, you get the conflicts, you get what pay-per-view and cable television and the media today obviously focus on because it attracts viewers. But you don’t necessarily get all the great stories, all the good stories, all the things that are happening that are changing the world. - And I believe there is more change for the positive than there is for the negative. I believe there is more that is happening to cure diseases, to provide education opportunity, to open up new opportunities for people despite what we see in the context of terrorism. What we see in so many countries today in this upheaval taking place through Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, other places, is really a transformation that people are demanding and a confrontation as they demand that transformation – a confrontation with modernity, sometimes a cultural clash, sometimes even religious clash. - And what I’m proud of is that our nation and those who walk in the same footsteps – our allies, our friends – understand that what is important in this world is tolerance. What is important is the ability to be able to live with other people, to reach out and come together and let other people have their beliefs – you have yours, but don’t attack each other over them. Leave the space for people to believe what they believe and to be who they want to be. That is really the hallmark of democracy. It’s the hallmark of freedom; it’s what we stand for. And I am convinced that in the end, as we keep going down this road of transformation, that will be the outcome that the vast majority of people on the face of this planet embrace. No question in my mind. - So I say thank you to you, because you are working for that transformation, every single one of you. It doesn’t matter what you do here. If you’re behind that window, interviewing somebody for a visa, you may be the first face they see of America and the person who defines for them what the road is to getting there if that’s where they want to go to, or if they just have a family reunification issue or a challenge in terms of health or medicine or care or whatever. You will make a difference in that person’s life. - And I’ve got news for you: I met a lot of people in a lot of different jobs who go to their job with a sense of drudgery, a sense of – a lack of passion. They don’t have the opportunity to say, “You know what? Today I’m getting up and I’m making a difference in the world, and I’m going to help other people, and I’m also going to do something for my country at the same time.” So in a sense, you are very, very blessed, whether you are Foreign Service, civil service, TDY, political appointee, a transfer from an agency, you are part of a great enterprise. And I just want to say a profound thank you to you on behalf of our country, on behalf of the United States of America and everybody in the world who cares about the difference that you’re making. - You are helping people deal with the scourge of HIV. You are helping to preserve the wonderful land that I got to visit yesterday – the Nairobi National Park and the orphan elephants and all of the things that you’re doing to preserve the long-term heritage of humankind. You are working on security and helping to provide improvements in governance, and you’re working with entrepreneurs. And when President Obama comes, there’ll be this enormous opportunity to infuse in people a sense of excitement about the possibilities of new jobs and new horizons in business. - So you’re working in so many different fields, making such a difference, and that really, I’ll tell you, is a blessing. So thank you, everybody. (Speaks in Swahili.) I am very blessed to be here. Thank you all so much. I want to have a chance – I want all the kids to come up and do a photo with me. - Who here – I want to know something. Is there anybody here 11 years old? How many? I want you to know that is the exact age I was when I was privileged to join my father, who joined the Foreign Service back in 1950, so I’m really dating myself. (Laughter.) And I traveled over to another country and went to school in another country, and I didn’t know where I was, folks. (Laughter.) I think I cried for three weeks. But I finally found my way, and I have to tell you, the experience is something. Learn another language, learn about other people, and you will have a skill and an asset that so few other people have, regrettably. And it will serve you well for the rest of your lives. - So come on up here and join me, and we’ll do a big photo if we can, all right? Thank you. (Applause.)..
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  • High Representative Federica Mogherini in Tunisia, talks with Libyan parties Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, was in Tunisia today to have talks with all Libyan parties as a follow up of the Special European Council of 23 April. - After meeting with Bernardino León, the UN Special Representative for Libya, and members of the recently established EU/UNSMIL (UN Support Mission in Libya) liaison cell, the High Representative held a series of contacts and meetings with different parties taking part in the UN-led political dialogue. - This initiative was taken to strongly encourage them to work quickly for the setting up of a Government of National Unity in the coming weeks. Underlining the importance of Libyans taking ownership to confront the challenges the country faces, the High Representative reiterated the EU's readiness to support a new government once it is established. - The importance of the need to urgently address the common threat of terrorism and the fight against traffickers and smugglers were stressed in the discussions both for the benefit of Libya and the EU. - The High Representative/Vice-President also met with the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Baccouche, to discuss the bilateral EU-Tunisia relationship, regional challenges including the situation in Libya, migration and counter terrorism...
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  • Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference at... CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY - Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be back in the occasion of the NPT review conference. My presence here was already planned today for addressing the conference, but I also took the chance of following up on the European Council we had last Thursday where the Heads of State and Government of the European Union discussed the tragedies that are happening in the Mediterranean, linked to the trafficking and smuggling of people across the Mediterranean, but also all the way through Africa and, in most cases, from places of the world like Syria or the Horn of Africa where their life is put at risk. So, I have had discussions about that today with the EU Permanent representatives of the countries that are sitting in the Security Council: Lithuania that is taking the Presidency of the Security Council from Friday, Spain, UK and France. I will meet also the Italian Permanent representative later on, the Russian Permanent representative and I will meet Samantha Power tomorrow in Washington as well as Secretary Kerry - not only on this but also on this. I will be visiting China next week where this issue will also be part of my talks. - This is also an opportunity for me to meet Iran Foreign Minister Zarif who is in town tonight on the nuclear talks, after the solutions we found in Switzerland less than one month ago on continuing our talks to find an agreement. And I am confident that we can proceed with a good work. As you know, the work on drafting the text of the agreement has restarted after many months on the basis of the solutions we found in Switzerland all together. - I will also have a bilateral meeting with Pavlo Klimkin, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, after the positive summit that was held between the European Union and Ukraine yesterday in Kyiv. And I hope I don't forget any point of my programme, which is a very dense and rich one, and for the moment a very fruitful one. - Q&A: - Question: In your meeting with Foreign Minister Zarif, do you think you will be able to smooth over some of the disagreements on the timing of lifting sanctions, and some of the other areas that have proven to be sticking points? And might the issue of the seizure of the ship today by Iranian forces come up? And on the question of an EU mandate for military operations off of Libya, do you have any sense of when that could be pushed through at the Security Council? - HRVP Federica Mogherini: In my meeting with Minister Zarif tonight, for sure the issue mentioned is something I will raise. I will also discuss that with Secretary Kerry tomorrow obviously to get more information on the dynamics. And we will for sure go through all the points that we still have to finalise in view of a final agreement by the end of June. I expect that we can have a fruitful conversation about this after our teams have already restarted the work in these days and are going to have a drafting session later this week. - On the creation of an international framework, of a legal framework for fighting traffickers and smugglers, we also had a very useful conversation with Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon together with Prime Minister Renzi yesterday in Sicily. It is not for the European Union to set the UN Security Council time framework, the EU is not sitting in the Security Council, as you know very well. So it is not for me to comment on the next steps. What I can say is that we are working in Brussels and in strong coordination with the European Union members of the Security Council to make sure that our planning, our options that are being prepared in Brussels, go hand in hand with the discussions that can be made in the Security Council, and not only with the European Union members, also with others. I think I mentioned the fact that I just met the Jordanian permanent representative, not only as President of the Council but also as an Arab country that has a lot to say when it comes to the stability and the security of the region. And also the African Union. I spoke with the President of the African Union Mrs Zuma this morning to find ways of cooperating strongly in preventing the criminal organisations to act on the African territory and to address the root causes of the phenomena. Because we know very well that we cannot focus only on one of the links of the chain, meaning the last part of the trip. But we have to address root causes; we have to address the issue of poverty, of wars, of human rights, of unequal distribution and access to resources, being it financial or other kind of resources. And we need to do it in partnership with the countries that are involved in this. Because the human trafficking and smuggling is clearly a violation of Human rights but it is also clearly a threat and a challenge for the security and the stability of all countries involved, all the way. It is not only a European issue, it is not only a Libyan issue - even if we are looking at finding ways of cooperating with all Libyans to face this threat and to find ways of working together in preventing this spreading even more in the territory. But we need to work in cooperation with our partners around the region and around the world for sure. So not for me to set up a time frame for UN Security Council to work, but for sure to make sure that the European Union work on this is coordinated and is fully in respect of international law. On this, let me also say that I spoke with António Guterres on Sunday to start coordinating even more closely, because our main objective is to save lives. Saving lives also means take care of the people we save. And on this we look for a strong partnership with the UNHCR and it would be good to see the UNHCR operating in all places through which the smuggling and trafficking of people takes place. - Question: On this migrants' smuggling question. Can you say how soon your enforcement operations will begin? Which countries will participate? And any details on how this enforcement effort will be underway? - HRVP Federica Mogherini: I was tasked last Thursday to start preparation for possible operations by the European Union, in full respect of international law, which means that we will need in any case to have a legal basis before we start operation on a European Union level. In the meantime, we are preparing options for a mission, for an operation. The process would be, first for me to present options to the Ministers, for them to take decisions; decisions in the EU are taken by unanimity, 28. And then it will be up to single Member States to decide whether and in which way they can participate to the operation. So we have different phases: preparation has already started on Thursday, on the very same day [than the European Council]. We are having the first discussion and thinking with the Member States in these very same hours. And we are working rapidly, but still, "rapidly" in the context of the European Union, definitely means not a couple of days. Also because in the meantime, as I said, we need to make sure that we have framework of international legality, in which we want to operate. There is nothing we are going to do that is outside of the framework and we work together with the UN and/or in partnership with the Libyan authorities. I will have a meeting shortly also with Bernardino Leon to see ways in which we can even more support his efforts to find an agreement in Libya because we know we have to partner with Libya, with all Libyans in this. And let me stress it very much because I know that the messages might have been perceived in a nuanced way. I want to make it very clear that there is nothing the European Union is preparing or thinking of that is intended to be against the Libyan people or the Libyan authorities in all their complexity. What we want to do is to work with Libyans on their own security, on their own possibility of freeing the country of criminal and also terrorist networks that are proliferating at this time. So it is a partnership we are looking for. - Question: Would you please tell us whether the EU supports a resolution from the Security Council and the creation of a maritime force that deals with the issue of trafficking people across the Mediterranean and with the flow of arms inside and outside Libya? - HRVP Federica Mogherini: The content of my talks here today has been on the first part of your question, absolutely yes. How we can stop the trafficking organisations: at sea, not only at sea, let me say, because if you take 5 minutes and look at the statement of the European Council there is this task for me, but there is also the task of working on other aspects of the prevention and the fight against trafficking organisations. Namely, the work will increase with Niger, with Mali, with the other neighbouring countries of Libya – Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria. Not to focus only on the last part of the trip but also on the rest of the security we need to build. So yes, this is definitely part of my mandate, this is definitely part of my talks that for the moment have been very constructive, I would say. - Question: Is Syria also part of your discussions? The United Nations has invited Iran to be part of a possible Geneva 3. When you meet the Foreign Minister of Iran, will you talk about Syria and Yemen with him as well? - HRVP Federica Mogherini: The main issue for our discussion tonight will be, as always, the nuclear talks. We have a lot on the agenda there. But every time that we meet, I also take the chance of discussing with Foreign Minister Zarif the regional situation, the many regional crises that we have open and also the possible role that Iran can play in a constructive way to find a political solution to the crisis, especially in Syria. Let me say that I fully support the efforts of [UN Special envoy] Staffan de Mistura who was here, yesterday, in the Security Council. The European Union is fully supporting his work, politically and also concretely, and I hope that we can find an end to a conflict that we are getting used to, but that is dramatic in terms of humanitarian consequences and regional consequences in the area. And obviously yes, we will discuss also Yemen. - Question: Do you think Iran is ready to discuss a political role, solution, in Syria? - HRVP Federica Mogherini: To discuss, for sure. We had a discussion already. The point is finding ways in which Iran can contribute towards a political solution of the crisis in Syria and finding a way of having a truly Syrian led transition in the country. - Question: What are you asking of Iran to do in Syria? What are you exactly asking them to contribute and how are you reassuring the Arab countries, who really think that Iran is part of the Syrian problem and therefore shouldn't be part of the solution? President Obama is calling leaders to Camp David, I see the Europeans doing nothing, not even about the refugees from Syria, because the burden is being born by Lebanon and Jordan. So please can you tell us what the European Union is doing on all that: Iran's role, the refugees and assuring the Arabs. - On the refugees, I just discussed this with the Permanent Representative of Jordan. I was visiting the camps in Jordan myself, and those in Lebanon. I know very well the huge number of refugees that Jordan and Lebanon in particular, but also Turkey, are hosting. Let me say the European Union Member States are participating in the resettlement of the refugees who are currently in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. In my personal opinion, we could and should do more and this is going to be one of the issues we will further discuss with the Heads of State and Government. In this respect, you know very well, it is not for the European Union, but for the European Member States to take more responsibility and I am always encouraging them - and actually I am always making the point that, when we discuss about the Europeans' efforts and challenges in welcoming a huge number of migrants and asylum seekers on our territory, we have also to look at the numbers of Arab countries that are hosting and welcoming enormous amounts of refugees themselves. - On Iran, our main contribution is in facilitating the nuclear talks. This is the main task I have, even personally. This has its background in a UN Security Council resolution that indicated the High Representative of the European Union as the facilitator of the talks; so I see it as my main task to make sure that the negotiations proceed in a speedy and a good way. Good way means that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon and can have its right to develop a peaceful programme, as everybody else, which I believe would be a very important contribution to the security of the region, and the stability of the region. Then, I am also convinced that this could lead the way, open the way, to a different role of Iran in the region. I understand very well the concerns of many Arab countries, and not only Arab countries, on the role of Iran, but I am also convinced that it would be naive to imagine that a country like Iran could simply disappear from the map. And the best possible approach you can have is for sure on one side, to have a positive outcome of the nuclear talks so that we can make sure that they cannot develop a nuclear weapon, and on the other side, call for Iran to play a major, a major but positive role in the region. On Syria in particular to encourage the regime to participate to what I called a Syrian-led transition, which has to be Syrian-led, but has to be a transition. And here I think we have all to invite all the parties that have an influence on the actors inside Syria to, in good faith and commitment, play in a responsible way their part in this Syrian-led transition. - Link to the video: -
  • Huawei Holds Safe City Africa Summit in Cape Town – Huawei Gathers Country Ministers to Discuss How Innovative ICT Makes Safe Cities Smarter CAPE TOWN, South Africa, April 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Huawei today held its Safe City Africa Summit in Cape Town as a platform for more than 400 industry members to share insights, development trends and global success stories on public safety […]..
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  • Bechtel Receives Highest Grade in Study of Anti-Corruption Programs – Company Scores “A” in Transparency International UK Assessment RESTON, Virginia, April 28, 2015 / PRNewswire — Bechtel received the top grade in Transparency International UK’s (TI-UK) Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index 2015, which measures the transparency and quality of ethics and anti-corruption programs of 163 defense companies from 47 countries. Bechtel is one of only […]..
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  • Legal routes no easy fix to EU migration crisis Recent boat arrivals have been an almost indistinguishable mixture of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants - OXFORD, 28 April 2015 (IRIN) - In a new column, Jeff Crisp, former policy chief at UNHCR and now an advisor with Refugees International, questions whether opening up more legal routes into Europe is really the silver bullet to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean many make it out to be. - What can be done to address the refugee and migration crisis in the Mediterranean, which has led many thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East to risk and lose their lives in a desperate attempt to reach Europe? - Although EU member states recently pledged to devote some additional resources to “search-and-rescue” missions, the dominant response has been to place greater emphasis on security, enforcement and rapid returns. - France and the UK have even stated that military action should be undertaken to identify and destroy the former fishing boats that are used to transport refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean. - By contrast, humanitarian and human rights organisations appear to have reached a consensus that one of the best ways of averting the need for people to take hazardous journeys across the Mediterranean would be to provide them with safe and legal means of moving to Europe from their countries of origin and transit. - In the words of a joint statement issued by a number of groups, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, the current crisis in the Mediterranean could be addressed “by creating sufficient channels for safe and regular migration, including for low-skilled migrant workers.” - In a detailed interview with The Guardian last week, François Crépeau, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, advocated a dual approach, involving a far higher number of resettlement places for refugees, as well as the establishment of migration arrangements for people who want to go to Europe to look for work. He argued that enabling migrants and asylum-seekers to make use of such legal channels would greatly reduce their need to rely on smugglers. - "The well-meaning notion of replacing chaotic and dangerous forms of movement with legal alternatives is itself fraught with difficulties" - While these proposals represent a far more constructive approach than that of bombing boats from helicopter gunships or drones, there is also a need to scrutinize them more rigorously. The well-meaning notion of replacing chaotic and dangerous forms of movement with legal alternatives is itself fraught with difficulties. - First, it is by no means clear that the governments - and more significantly the electorates - of Europe would sign up to the notion of creating more legal migration channels, especially if the result would be the arrival of more low-skilled migrant workers. Of course, many sectors of the European economy are highly dependent on such people, but in the toxic atmosphere that currently surrounds the migration debate in most EU member states, it would take a very brave political leader to acknowledge this reality and organise the arrival of migrants now stranded in North Africa. - Second, more thought needs to go into the selection procedures that would be used if regular migration channels were to be established for the complex and sometimes almost indistinguishable mixture of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants wishing to enter Europe. Would separate procedures be needed for each of these groups? Who would administer them, how long would they take, and what would happen to applicants while they were waiting to hear if they had been admitted to Europe? - Greater clarity is also required with respect to the admission criteria that would be used by EU states. Would priority be given to the most vulnerable applicants? If so, how would regularised migration differ from refugee resettlement, and what programmes would be needed to assist those with special needs, such as survivors of sexual violence, unaccompanied children and people with disabilities? - How would European countries choose amongst the many low-skilled migrants who want to move to the continent? Or would they simply ‘cherry-pick’ those applicants with the best education and skills? If so, many thousands would be left behind in transit countries such as Libya and Tunisia, providing a continued clientele for the rapacious smuggling networks that have emerged throughout the Mediterranean. - More generally, even if some European governments could be persuaded to establish regular migration channels for those contemplating dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean, the number of people wishing to enter those channels would surely be far in excess of the number of places available. With supply outstripping demand, many would still be left with no other option than smugglers’ boats. - "The establishment of regular migration channels between North Africa and Europe runs the risk of both stimulating and facilitating the irregular movement of people" - Finally, the establishment of regular migration channels between North Africa and Europe runs the risk of both stimulating and facilitating the irregular movement of people from the former to the latter. - Such channels may well act as a “pull factor,” encouraging greater numbers of people to head for Europe from countries affected by armed conflict, poor governance and weak economies. Asylum-seekers and migrants admitted by safe and legal means would be well-placed to provide compatriots in countries of origin and transit with the information, money and motivation needed to move towards Europe. - The notion of regularising refugee movements is by no means a new one, and has in the past provided an important means of enabling people from war-torn states to begin more peaceful and prosperous lives in other countries. - In the 1980s and 1990s, for example, more than 400,000 refugees from Vietnam and other Indo-Chinese countries were resettled from countries of first asylum in Southeast Asia to other parts of the world. An even greater number were able to participate in an “orderly departure programme” that enabled them to move directly, legally and safely from their country of origin. - These and other types of regular migration programmes should now be scrutinised in greater depth to determine the extent to which they might reduce the loss of life and human suffering currently witnessed in the Mediterranean. But it would be illusory to begin that process on the assumption that such programmes represent a quick, easy or politically acceptable approach to the region’s refugee crisis. - jc/ks/ag..
  • Dr. Hisham Mahmoud moves to Golder Associates as New President and CEO ATLANTA, April 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Golder Associates, the global consulting and engineering firm, announces today that it has appointed Dr. Hisham Mahmoud as its President and CEO. Dr. Mahmoud has been appointed to this role after an extensive global search over recent months. He will be based in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Mahmoud’s career […]..
  • Nexmo s’associe à Mobilis pour introduire des services d’identification mobile et de communications cloud en Algérie SAN FRANCISCO, 28 avril 2015 / PRNewswire/ – Nexmo, le principal fournisseur d’API de communication cloud, a annoncé aujourd’hui un partenariat stratégique avec Mobilis, un prestataire de premier plan de solutions de télécommunications d’Algérie. Mobilis, une division d’Algeria Telecom, a joué un rôle clé dans l’introduction de services de connectivité 3G et d’autres services de pointe tels […]..
  • Daily News 28 / 04 / 2015 Outcome of EU-Ukraine summit - The 17th EU-Ukraine Summit took place yesterday. The EU was represented by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk,Ukraine by President Petro Poroshenko. The summit discussed the implementation of the Association Agreement and political and economic reforms in Ukraine including EU financial and other assistance; the crisis in Eastern Ukraine and the application of the Minsk agreements, including the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission; regional issues; and the preparations for the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Riga. After the Summit, President Juncker also announced that the EU will step up its contribution with €70 million to ensure the complete return to a safe environment at the Chernobyl site. A press release on support for Chernobyl is available online. There is also a fact sheet on EU support for Ukraine, the speech by President Juncker on "Reforming for Ukraine's future" (28/04) and President Juncker's remarks at the press conference after the Summit (27/04). (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Eamonn Prendergast – Tel.: +32 460 753293) - European Agenda on Security - Today the European Commission will set out a European Agenda on Security for the period 2015-2020 to support Member States' cooperation in tackling security threats and step up our common efforts in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime. The Agenda will set out the concrete tools and measures which will be used in this joint work to ensure security and tackle these three most pressing threats more effectively. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos will present the Agenda at a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg at around 16.30. The press conference will also be streamed live on EbS (for more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020) - International Conference on Support for Ukraine: EU announces €110 million benefitting SMEs and entrepreneurship in Ukraine - As part of the EU's €11 billion package supporting Ukraine, the European Commission has adopted a Special Measure for Private Sector Development and Approximation worth €70 million. This measure is a response to the urgent need to support the recovery and economic development in Ukraine. It will notably help SMEs across the regions of Ukraine, boosting jobs and growth. It will be complemented by a €40 million loan guarantee facility which will also ease access to finance for Ukrainian businesses. European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, said: "The development of small and medium enterprises (SME) has a crucial role to play in creating growth and job opportunities. By supporting an enabling environment to invest, by providing business development services at regional level and by addressing some of the obstacles to SME development such as access to finance, the EU is contributing to economic recovery, in particular in the regions most affected by the need to integrate internally displaced persons”. A press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430) - ANNOUNCEMENTS - Vice-President in charge of Energy Union Šefčovič in Ukraine - Vice-PresidentMaroš Šefčovič is in Kyiv today to speak at the energy panel of the "International Support for Ukraine"-conference. He will meet Minister of Energy Volodymyr Demchyshyn, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin as well as the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk; the press conference of the Vice-President Šefčovič and PM Yatsenyuk will be at 11.00 CET. Vice-President Šefčovič is visiting Kyiv as part of the conference organised by the Ukrainian Government with a view to present the achievements already made in reforms and the outline the plans ahead. Vice-President Šefčovič will discuss the reform of Ukraine's energy sector as well as the opportunities stemming from Ukraine's membership in the Energy Community and by the signing of Association Agreement/DCFTA. (for more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589) - Commissioner Hahn in Tunisia on 29-30 April - On 29-30 April Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will visit Tunisia, a priority partner for the EU. The purpose of the visit is to show support for Tunisia's reform process, hold consultations on the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy and sign co-operation agreements with the country. During his visit Commissioner will meet President Béji Caïd Essebsi, Head of Government Habib Essid, and civil society representatives. In Tunisia Commissioner Hahn will also be a keynote speaker at a Conference entitled 'Tunisia transformation – Cooperating with the neighbours: Europe, North Africa'. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430)..
  • Nexmo Partners with Mobilis to Introduce Mobile Identification & Cloud Communication Services to Algeria SAN FRANCISCO, April 28, 2015 / PRNewswire — Nexmo, the leading cloud communication API company, today announced a strategic partnership with Mobilis, a leading provider of telecom solutions to Algeria. Mobilis, a division of Algeria Telecom, has been the leader in bringing 3G connectivity and other cutting edge services like cloud communications to the country. Now […]..
  • Deutsche Post DHL Group Sends Disaster Response Team to Nepal Within 48 Hours after Earthquake – Volunteer teams to provide logistics support at Tribhuvan Kathmandu International Airport to assist with relief efforts following the devastating earthquake SINGAPORE, April 28, 2015 / PRNewswire — Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) Group, the world´s leading logistics provider, has deployed their Disaster Response Team (DRT) in Kathmandu, Nepal, following the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that has claimed […]..
  • MCW Facilitates Historic Partnership To Provide Interdisciplinary Healthcare Training In Tanzania - An innovative collaboration between the Tanzanian Government through its Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Muhimbili University, New York University College of Nursing and MCW set to begin next month. NEW YORK, April 27, 2015 / PRNewswire – As part of its Oral Health Care Initiative, which has the vision to improve oral health care […]..
  • Caid Essebsi Receives FM President Beji Caid Essebsi conferred, Tuesday, with Foreign Minister..
  • President Caid Essebsi Calls On Germany to Support Tunisia in Its Future Negotiations With EU President Beji Caid Essebsi called on Germany to support Tunisia's..
  • Success of Military Operation of Mount Salloum to Be Followed By Others - Minister of Defence The military operation led by the army against the terrorists in..
  • First Batch of U.S. Combat Helicopters to Be Delivered to Tunisia Shortly - Defence Tunisia will receive in the coming months the first batch of U.S...
  • My Visit to Tunisia, an Opportunity to Help Country Successfully Complete Democratic Transition - Gauck "Beyond the friendship and solidarity links between the two peoples,..
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