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Wind blowing in the direction of peace


(UN News) ‘Wind blowing in the direction of peace’ in Africa: UN Secretary-General

António Guterres was there to take part in the second annual UN-African Union conference, part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the relationship between the two organizations. The two-day meeting covers a wide range of topics, and Mr. Guterres spoke about the partners’ close collaboration in areas such as peace and security.

“We feel a wind blowing in the direction of peace,” he said, referring to recent developments such as the historic visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister to rival and neighbour Eritrea, as well as peace talks on South Sudan, where conflict has raged since 2013.

“All this gives us hope that the African continent will be moving more and more in the right direction in peace and security,” he added, telling delegates that the UN could not afford to fail in its dealings with the continent.

When African troops are fighting terrorists in the Sahel, they are not only protecting the citizens of the Sahel. They are protecting the whole world – UN chief António Guterres

But the UN chief also focused on what he described as the “dramatic crises” in Africa, where the UN has deployed peacekeeping missions in four countries: the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mali and South Sudan.

He said the rise of armed groups and international terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram, means that these operations are not involved in “traditional” peacekeeping, and he cited the need for more funding, particularly in enforcing peace and countering terrorism.

“We need to understand that when African troops are fighting terrorists in the Sahel, they are not only protecting the citizens of the Sahel. They are protecting the whole world. And the world must be in solidarity with Africa, as African forces are protecting us all,” he stated.

The Secretary-General also called for greater support for the UN’s Agenda 2030 and African Union’s Agenda 2063, both of which address long-term economic development.

He appealed to the international community to take action against the flow of illegal funds, money-laundering and tax evasion, which cost Africa $50 billion every year.

He said: “This is a responsibility for the international community to support Africa to make sure that African resources remain in Africa to support African development.”
‘Wind blowing in the direction of peace’ in Africa: UN Secretary-General

UNITED NATIONS, July 10 (Xinhua) — The Security Council will be discussing the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea given its agreement with Ethiopia to end their “state of war,” diplomats said Tuesday.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, whose country holds the presidency of the Security Council for July, said she hoped the lifting of sanctions against the Horn of Africa country will “happen shortly.”

“I join the (UN) secretary-general, who says if the reasons for introducing sanctions are removed, then also the sanctions of course could be removed,” Wallstrom, who was at UN headquarters to chair a Security Council debate, told reporters.

Asked how soon the sanctions could be lifted, she said: “We are looking at that — whether we can even introduce it as quickly as possible during our presidency (within July) or what will be the right time. We will have to check what is happening on the ground.”

She expressed the hope that the Security Council could make a decision with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres returning from Addis Ababa on Tuesday with fresh impression of the situation on the ground.

She said the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea would be “fantastic.” “It means something for the whole Horn of Africa region,” she said.

Dutch ambassador to the United Nations, Karel van Oosterom, also confirmed on Tuesday that there might be discussions at the Security Council about the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea.

Swedish UN ambassador Olof Skoog told his EU colleagues at the Security Council on Tuesday that his country was in contact with both Ethiopia and Eritrea, according to van Oosterom.

The Security Council imposed sanctions in 2009 on Eritrea, including an arms embargo, for its destabilizing role in neighboring countries.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday handed a letter to Guterres in Addis Ababa, requesting the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea. Guterres said the sanctions will naturally become obsolete if the reasons that led to them no longer exist.

Ethiopia and Eritrea declared on Monday that they will end hostilities and return to peace.