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IGAD says US has ‘significantly’ scaled down its funding to South Sudan peace process ;

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NAIROBI  – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which mediated the revitalized peace agreement has said that the United States of America has significantly scaled down its funding to the implementation of the 2018 peace deal, affecting the work of peace monitoring mechanisms.

The regional bloc made the revelation in a communiqué issued from Kenyan capital Nairobi where IGAD head of states met for an extra-ordinary submit to discuss several key regional issues including the South Sudan peace process.

In the communiqué, the regional bloc commended the progress made by the South Sudan parties to the agreement in the implementation process of the agreement, but “Observed that only eight (8) months remain to the end of the Transition Period in the South Sudan peace process while a number of critical tasks are still outstanding.”

The IGAD communiqué “called upon the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity and the Parties to draw up a roadmap with clear benchmarks and realistic timelines to complete the remaining tasks including the conduct of elections.”

It further revealed that the United States of America has scaled down its funding to the implementation process of the revitalized peace agreement, affecting the work of peace monitoring mechanisms such as R-JMEC and the CTSAMVM.

“[The IGAD head of states] Appealed to key partners of the South Sudan Peace Process particularly the United States of America to reconsider their decision to significantly scale down their support to the peace process in South Sudan that is crippling the work of critical agreement mechanisms such as the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM); and agencies supporting the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance,” it said.

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MoH deploys Ebola response team at southern borders

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Team of health workers deployed at the border towns of Nimule. (Photo: Mabior Kiir).
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The national Ministry of Health has deployed a technical team of 15 health workers to areas bordering Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo to monitor and screen travelers amid the new Ebola outbreak in Uganda.

Dr. Victoria Anib Majur, the ministry’s undersecretary said a five-member team is heading to Yambio of Western Equatoria State.

The health personnel include public health officers, lab technicians, case management surveillance officers and infection and preventing control officers.

“The ministry of health is very determined to make sure that there are precautionary measures in place to make sure Ebola doesn’t enter to the country,” said Anib.

“On top of it, we want to send a message to people to adhere with measure by washing hand If any person develops symptoms of fever or suspects any symptoms, he should report it to the nearest health facility.”

Dr. Victoria who spoke to reporters upon the departure of the doctors from Juba Airport, revealed that the ministry has also dispatched similar five-member team to Yei and another to Nimule.

Team of specialists deployed in Yei to conduct surveillance on Ebola Virus Disease. (Mabior Kiir).
She said the health professionals will launch precautionary measures center to monitor suspect Ebola cases.

On Tuesday, health authorities in Uganda declared an outbreak of Ebola after a case of the rare Sudan strain was confirmed in Mubende district in the central part of the country.

So far, 31 confirmed and suspected cases, and 19 deaths have been reported by Uganda’s health ministryOn Friday, President Kiir’s cabinet meeting allocated 500,000 US dollars as funds for mitigation and prevention of Ebola following reported outbreak of the virus in Uganda early this week.

Via Eyeradio

 

 

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S. Sudan, Ethiopia agree on joint project to link with Djibouti port

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South Sudan Vice-President Taban Geng Gai talks with Ethiopian Defence Minister, Abraham Belay after his arrival in Addis Ababa on September 21, 2022
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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 23, 2022 (NAIROBI) – Ethiopia and South Sudan have agreed to carry out a series of joint infrastructure projects that would eventually enable the latter to link with the port of Djibouti.

The agreement was reached on Tuesday after a high-level South Sudan delegation led by Vice-President, Taban Geng Gai, met with a group of Ethiopian Ministers led by Finance Minister, Ahmed Shide.
Earlier, the two sides discussed ways how to enhance joint infrastructure connectivity projects.

In this regard, both sides agreed on ways to enhance their previously designed plans in the areas of road infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, water transportation, and other vital economic sectors with a view to creating integration for mutual benefits.

Per the newly reached agreement, one of the key projects being prioritized was to undertake road projects with a view to boosting connectivity between the two landlocked countries.

After the discussions, Ethiopia’s Finance Minister, Ahmed Shide, confirmed that the two sides have concluded a very important agreement in terms of advancing two road projects.

“We comprehensively agreed to work on joint infrastructural connectivity that will overcome geographical barriers in terms of trade and logistics flows between our two countries and people-to-people relations.”

Cut reliance on Kenya’s port

The fresh agreement with Ethiopia comes only a few days after South Sudan announced buying three acres of land at the port of Djibouti for the construction of a facility to handle its import and export of goods as the landlocked country eyes an alternative route to cut high dependency on Kenya’s Mombasa port.

“We have only been using Port Sudan and Mombasa but recently, we have decided to go to Djibouti and as I am speaking to you, we have landed in Djibouti,” South Sudan Minister for Petroleum Puot Kang Chol is quoted as saying by local media.
The minister said the land was procured by the Ministry of Petroleum for the purpose of exporting the country’s crude oil as well as using it on imported goods.

If effected, the move will hit the port of Mombasa given that Juba is one of Kenya’s largest clients importing nearly all of its cargo through the Kenyan port.
Rising costs Khartoum charges Juba for pipelines have also pushed South Sudan to eye alternative routes to export its crude oil to the international market.

Port of Djibouti

The road projects will be given top priority to open up transportation so that connectivity of South Sudan will be enhanced via Ethiopia through the Djibouti corridor, the Ethiopian minister added.
“These projects will be financed jointly and we have agreed to finalize the feasibility and preparations in terms of selecting a contractor so that the joint financing mechanism will be worked upon,” Shide said.
The South Sudanese delegation, on its part, vowed to cooperate and work for the immediate implementation of the joint projects.
“The agreed projects will be operationalized and put into consideration as soon as all the technical aspects are addressed,” said Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan’s Information minister said on behalf of the delegation.
Lueth said that it is worth mentioning that South Sudan, as a landlocked country, will benefit from the port of Djibouti using Ethiopia as a transport hub.
“Trade can be facilitated by Ethiopia through the Djibouti corridor,” he said adding “We expect Ethiopia to support us so that we can grow and be as strong as Ethiopia is today.” the South Sudanese minister added.
In transport connectivity, river, fibre optics and transmission line connectivity has been agreed upon and the preparation to realize the agreement will commence right after this meeting, Ethiopian officials said.
“As soon as the preparations are completed we will work together for resource mobilization and reaching out to development financial institutions as part of the Horn of Africa initiative” Shide added.
Aviation Sector
The two sides have also agreed to work on the aviation sector.
“Ethiopia has massive experience in airport construction. With this capacity, we have also agreed to share our experience and work on a joint mechanism on aviation connectivity and development with the republic of South Sudan.” the Ethiopian Finance Minister told journalists.
Peace Process
Ethiopia will continue to work and support the peace process in South Sudan, the minister said.
He noted that ensuring regional peace and stability are crucial for the two countries’ joint infrastructural development.
“We have a very comprehensive political commitment and will to advance the cooperation between the two countries,” Shide added.

The South Sudanese high-level delegation arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday for a three-day official working visit.
Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, the South Sudanese delegation was warmly received by Ethiopian Defense Minister Abraham Belay and Director General of African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fisseha Shawul, among other senior government officials.

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Russian men flee abroad, fearing call-up to fight in Ukraine

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Cars queue to cross the border from Russia to Finland at the Vaalimaa border check point in Virolahti, Finland, Friday Sept. 23, 2022. (Sasu Makinen/Lehtikuva via AP)
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Military-aged men fled Russia on Friday, filling planes and causing traffic jams at border crossings to avoid being rounded up to fight in Ukraine following the Kremlin’s partial military mobilization.

Queues stretching for 10 kilometers (6 miles) formed on a road leading to the southern border with Georgia, according to Yandex Maps, a Russian online map service.

The lines of cars were so long at the border with Kazakhstan that some people abandoned their vehicles and proceeded on foot — just as some Ukrainians did after Russia invaded their country on Feb. 24.

Meanwhile, dozens of flights out of Russia — with tickets sold at sky-high prices — carried men to international destinations such as Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Serbia, where Russians don’t need visas.

Among those who reached Turkey was a 41-year-old who landed in Istanbul with a suitcase and a backpack and plans to start a new life in Israel.

“I’m against this war, and I’m not going to be a part of it. I’m not going to be a murderer. I’m not going to kill people,” said the man, who identified himself only as Yevgeny to avoid potential retribution against his family left behind in Russia.

He referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal.”

Yevgeny decided to flee after Putin announced a partial military call-up on Wednesday. The total number of reservists involved could be as high as 300,000.

Some Russian men also fled to neighboring Belarus, Russia’s close ally. But that carried risk.

The Nasha Niva newspaper, one of the oldest independent newspapers in Belarus, reported that Belarusian security services were ordered to track down Russians fleeing from the draft, find them in hotels and rented apartments and report them to Russian authorities.

Russian authorities tried to calm an anxious public about the draft.

Legislators introduced a bill Friday that would suspend or reduce loan payments for Russians called up for duty. News outlets emphasized that draftees would have the same status as professional soldiers and be paid the same, and that their civilian jobs would be held for them.

The Defense Ministry said that many people who work in high tech, communications or finance will be exempt from the call-up “to ensure the operations” of those fields, the Tass news agency reported.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the fact that Russians were leaving their country to avoid conscription shows that the war in Ukraine is “unpopular.”

“What Putin is doing — he is not coming from a place of strength,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “He is coming from a place of weakness.”

The exodus unfolded as a Kremlin-orchestrated referendum got underway seeking to make occupied regions of Ukraine part of Russia. Kyiv and the West condemned it as a rigged election whose result was preordained by Moscow.

German government officials voiced a desire to help Russian men deserting military service, and they called for a European solution.

“Those who bravely stand up to Putin’s regime and thereby put themselves in great danger can apply for asylum in Germany on the grounds of political persecution,” the spokesman for German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.

The spokesman, Maximilian Kall, said deserters and those refusing to be drafted would receive refugee status in Germany if they are at risk of serious repression, though every case is examined individually.

But they would first have to make it to Germany, which has no land border with Russia, and like other European Union countries has become far more difficult for Russians to travel to.

The EU banned direct flights between its 27 member states and Russia after the attack on Ukraine, and recently agreed to limit issuing Schengen visas, which allow free movement across much of Europe.

Four out of five EU countries that border Russia — Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland — also recently decided to turn away Russian tourists.

Some European officials view fleeing Russians as potential security risks. They hope that by not opening their borders, it will increase pressure against Putin at home.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said Thursday that many of those fleeing “were fine with killing Ukrainians. They did not protest then. It is not right to consider them as conscientious objectors.”

The one EU country that is still accepting Russians with Schengen visas is Finland, which has a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia.

Finland border guards said Friday that the number of people entering from Russia has climbed sharply, with media reporting a 107% increase compared with last week.

At Vaalimaa, one of the busiest crossings on the border, the line of waiting cars stretched for half a kilometer (a third of a mile), the Finnish Border Guard said.

Finnish broadcaster MTV carried interviews with Russian men who had just crossed into Finland at the Virolahti border crossing, including with a man named Yuri from Moscow who said that no “sane person” wants to go to war.

A Russian man from St. Petersburg, Andrei Balakirov, said he had been mentally prepared to leave Russia for half a year but put it off until the mobilization.

“I think it’s a really bad thing,” he said.

Valery, a man from Samara who was heading to Spain, agreed, calling the mobilization “a great tragedy.”

“It’s hard to describe what’s happening. I feel sorry for those who are forced to fight against their will. I’ve heard stories that people have been given these orders right in the streets — scary.”

Associated Press writers Frank Jordans in Berlin; Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland; Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark; and Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed

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