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Russia, Sudan Foster Deal Among Central African Militia

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Russia, Sudan Foster Deal Among Central African Militia

Russia and Sudan have hosted talks in Khartoum among some of the Central African Republic’s rival militias, Central African Republic officials said on Wednesday, while documents showed the groups had signed a preliminary agreement.

The meeting in the Sudanese capital on Tuesday unfolded in parallel to an official mediation effort in the troubled Central African Republic led by the African Union (AU).

Russia and Sudan “took the step of holding a meeting in Khartoum with the heads of armed groups,” Communications Minister Ange-Maxime Kazagui said in a statement read on national radio.

The Central African Republic exploded into violence following the 2013 overthrow of longtime leader Francois Bozize, a Christian, by majority-Muslim militias in a coalition called the Seleka.

France, the former colonial power, intervened to oust the Seleka and the UN deployed a peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, in 2014.

But President Faustin-Archange Touadera, elected in 2016, controls only a fraction of the country.

Most of the territory is overrun by armed groups, many of which claim to protect Christian or Muslim communities, and which often fight bloodily over resources.

Violence has led to thousands of deaths, while according to the UN, nearly 700 000 people have been internally displaced, 570 000 are refugees abroad and 2.5 million are in need of humanitarian aid.

Three Seleka groups and a nominally Christian militia leader signed a “declaration of understanding” in Khartoum on Tuesday, according to the document, which was obtained by AFP.

The three Seleka groups are the Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC), led by Noureddine Adam; the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC), led by Ali Darassa; and the Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC), led by Mahamat Al-Khatim.

Maxime Mokom, who heads one of the biggest nominally Christian armed groups, also signed the document.

Russian role

The initiative in Khartoum marks the latest sign of Russia’s deepening involvement in the Central African Republic, a country that is poor and fragile but strategically located and rich in gold, copper, iron ore and uranium.

Since the start of the year, Russia has supplied weapons to the Central African Republic army after gaining UN authorisation to do so and provides close protection for Touadera, whose security advisor is Russian.

It has also sent five military officers and 170 civilians as “instructors” for Central African Republic’s armed forces, even though its troops are already being trained by the European Union.

On the diplomatic front, Russia has twice attempted to mediate among the militias in the past two months, but without success.

The Central African Republic communique on Wednesday said the government “takes note of the declaration” signed in Khartoum but “supports the AU’s initative for peace and reconciliation.”

The AU, supported by the UN and the Central African Republic’s main partners, has been striving to set up negotiations between the militias and the government since July 2017 but progress has been scant.

An AU panel is scheduled to meet with the militias in the coming days in Bouar, western Central African Republic, to “harmonise” 97 claims that the armed groups have set down ahead of any official agreement.

Seven peace agreements have been signed in the Central African Republic over the past half-dozen years but none has had a lasting effect.

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African News

Ghana Opens First Round Of Bidding For Exploratory Licenses

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Ghana Opens First Round Of Bidding For Exploratory Licenses

President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the opening of the country’s first open and competitive round of bidding for energy exploration licenses, with three offshore blocks being offered. Previously, Ghana had awarded leases through a closed negotiation process.

All of the blocks are located in ghana’s central basin. To undertake the exploration and extraction.

Bidders have to show financial capacity and technical expertise and present a timetable for their exploration and development program.

President Akufo-Addo also announced a review of all licensing agreements covering blocks that were inactive, where concession holders had not undertaken the required exploratory or development work.

This move could see a number of blocks re-enter the market, either through competitive bidding or direct negotiations, generating further interest in the upstream component of the industry from both independent operators and major players.

Although the development of these offshore sites will require significant investment, rising international oil prices could well justify the expense.

Development of major offshore oilfields is set to boost export earnings and stimulate investment inflows.

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Namibia National Council Chairperson Tasks MPs On Safe Driving

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Namibia National Council Chairperson Tasks MPs On Safe Driving

As the Namibian National Council adjourned for the holidays on Thursday, chairperson margaret mensah-williams gave an unusual advise to members of parliament. She asked them to take the lead by being safe drivers and obey traffic rules.  She especially harped on obeying speed limits.

She referred to some highways in the country that have historically recorded high numbers of accidents, some of which had involved members of parliament.  One of such fatal accidents recently occurred on the country’s b-one highway.

Mensah-williams advised everyone to be responsible drivers this holiday season, asking drivers to be more patient on the roads.  She said it is unacceptable that road accidents have become the leading causes of death in the country.

She warns against drinking and driving and gender-based violence, appealing to namibians not to rape, kill or abuse their partners and children in anyway whatsoever.

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Angola Admitted Into Gas Exporting Countries Forum As Observing Member

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Angola Admitted Into Gas Exporting Countries Forum As Observing Member

Angola has been admitted into the Gas Exporting Countries Forum as an observer member. GECF is an international governmental organization based in Doha, Qatar.

The group brings together the world’s leading gas producers and supports the sovereign rights of member countries over their gas resources.  It also helps them with their rights and capability to manage, develop, use and conserve those resources in a way that is sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly.

Executive Chairman of African Energy Chamber, N.J. Ayuk said this is a step in the right direction for Namibia, and it’s in line wth the country’s  economic goals and projects.  He also said this would help in expanding economic diversification.

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