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African Union summit – 2014 Year of Agriculture

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African Union summit, Addis Ababa, January 2014

African Union summit, Addis Ababa, January 2014

Radio France Internationale’s English service

A series of interviews and reports from the 22nd African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Includes coverage from the Executive Council and Assembly as well as stories on South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Libya, Algeria, the AU Immediate Response to Crises force and agriculture, the summit’s theme.

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Mauritania’s oil minister discusses Mali conflict fallout

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Taleb Ould Abdi Vall. Photo: Agence Mauritanienne d'Information.

Taleb Ould Abdi Vall. Photo: Agence Mauritanienne d’Information.

As the French military intervention in northern Mali continues, many countries in the region have been affected by the fallout. Mauritania, which shares a 2,000-kilometre border with Mali, has seen the arrival of thousands of refugees and has increased military patrols to try and stop Islamist armed groups from penetrating its territory.

Interview: Taleb Ould Abdi Vall, Mauritania’s Minister of Oil, Energy and Mining, at Ifri think-tank

Radio France Internationale

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Written by Daniel Finnan

6 February 2013 at 18:04

Eritreans protest outside Paris embassy

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A group of Eritean political refugees protested outside Eritrea’s Paris embassy on Friday in a demonstration against President Isaias Afewerki. There have been similar demonstrations at Eritrea embassies in other European capitals in recent days, including London and Rome. This comes following a recently reported army mutiny in the Eritrean capital Asmara, when some 200 Eritrean soldiers briefly occupied the country’s Information Ministry.

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Written by Daniel Finnan

1 February 2013 at 17:47

Muslim Brotherhood to face Mubarak-era prime minister in Egypt’s presidential run-off

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The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Moursi will face off against Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in the second round of Egypt’s presidential election, according to unofficial results Friday. A statement issued by the Muslim Brotherhood mid-morning on Friday said the party’s candidate had won, according to their estimates.

Radio France Internationale

Moderate Islamist Moursi is thought to have garnered around 27 per cent, with Shafiq, who was premier for a time under deposed president Hosni Mubarak, securing 23 per cent, according to unofficial independent results.

Liberal Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Foutouh and Nasserist/leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi tie for third place with about 18 per cent. While former foreign minister Amr Moussa comes in fifth, in counting done by Iyad El-Baghdadi.

Figures show a turnout of around 50 per cent, ranging from 29 per cent in the Upper Egypt governorate of Aswan, to as high as 54 per cent in Suez, according to Al-Ahram newspaper.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s performance in the polls is unlikely to surprise many but Shafiq’s support will be seen as more of a shock.

In Minoufiya, a governorate with a majority population of low-income farmers, Shafiq is thought to have taken more then half the vote, maybe an indication of his campaign’s appeal to stability and security.

Amr Moussa did not win the support he was expected to get in Upper Egypt. Instead the Muslim Brotherhood seems to have won over voters, taking just over a third of ballots, with Shafiq securing 27 per cent.

In the city of Alexandria, experienced politician Sabahi, who claims to defend the legacy of nationalist former president Gamal Abdel Nasser, seems to have topped the polls. While in Suez the picture is more mixed, with Mousri just edging his rivals, and Shafiq coming fifth.

Cairo results are yet to be finalised.

Following early results Shafiq thanked his supporters on Facebook, according to Al-Ahram. He also saluted Sabahi and said he would not be “upset” if the third-placed candidate won, because he is a “patriotic” man.

In an interview on Thursday, Shafiq’s campaign spokesperson Ahmad Sarhan told RFI that he thinks it is unlikely that Egypt’s revolutionary youth will take to the streets.

“Many of the revolutionary youth comes here to the headquarters and talks to him [Shafiq] about the future,” Sarhan said, from the relatively elegant campaign office in the Dokki district of the capital.

“He opened his heart to them [the youth] and tried to listen to them. He told them clearly, the Muslim Brotherhood, they took it [the revolution] away from you,” Sarhan added.

The sentiment amongst youth is likely to be the most significant measure of possible challenges to the results and potential protests. Many see Shafiq as the chosen candidate of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and representative of the remnants of the Mubarak regime.

Sabahi’s surprise late increase in popularity can be attributed in some part to support from the revolutionary youth. On Thursday his campaign gave RFI the most accurate assessment of the outcome, given Friday’s early results. Putting Sabahi in the top three, the most modest prediction we have received from any of the contenders’ camps.

“He’s been changing position with Amr Moussa and Mohamed Moursi, in some areas. While in others it is between him and Ahmed Shafiq and Moursi,” said Sayed El-Toukhy a member of Sabahi’s campaign committee.

If necessary a second round runoff poll will take place on 16/17 June.

Written by Daniel Finnan

25 May 2012 at 13:31

Mitt, the Mormons, and a controversial temple in France

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An architectural rendering of what the Mormon temple will look like in Le Chesnay. Photo: Intellectual Reserve Inc

An architectural rendering of what the Mormon temple will look like in Le Chesnay. Photo: Intellectual Reserve Inc

As Mitt Romney continues to work toward his goal of replacing Barack Obama, one aspect of his past is achieving success after a long struggle — in France, not the US. French Mormons are preparing to break ground in construction of the country’s first temple, to be built in the leafy Paris suburb of Le Chesnay, right near the Palace of Versailles, one of the country’s major international tourism draws. The plan, though, is not without controversy.

Latitude News

Written by Daniel Finnan

5 May 2012 at 18:02

London conference on Somalia attracts international attention

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The London conference on Somalia opens to fanfare on Thursday hoping to improve the situation in a country described as the “world’s worst failed state”. Ahead of the conference the UN Security Council has approved a new resolution bolstering the African Union’s peacekeeping force in Somalia to 17,000 troops, in its fight against the Al-Shabaab rebels.

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Written by Daniel Finnan

23 February 2012 at 02:21

Kagame cleared of involvement in plane crash by French report

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Tharcisse Karugarama

Tharcisse Karugarama. Photo: Rwandan government.

A French judicial report on Tuesday cleared Rwandan President Paul Kagame of involvement in the shooting down of a plane that sparked the 1994 genocide. The report was welcomed by Rwanda as a vindication of Kagame.

Interview: Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama

Radio France Internationale

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Written by Daniel Finnan

12 January 2012 at 17:11

Kabila leads DRC elections with half polling stations counted

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Packets of ballot papers lying on the floor at the Fikin International compilation centre in Kinshasa

Packets of ballot papers lying on the floor at the Fikin International compilation centre in Kinshasa

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s incumbent president Joseph Kabila is leading the presidential election, according to partial results announced on Sunday. The country’s electoral commission said Kabila leads his main rival Etienne Tshisekedi by over 1.5 million ballots.

Etienne Tshisekedi

Vital Kamerhe

Q&A Lambert Mende, DRC Communications Minister

Radio France Internationale

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Police ban rallies in DRC as violence erupts on final day of campaigning

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With just two days two days left until voters go to the polls in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential elections, police in Kinshasa have banned campaign rallies. This follows the death of a man near the airport where thousands of people had gathered to meet the election’s main rivals, Joseph Kabila and Etienne Tshisekedi.

Report: DRC elections – Possible delay

Radio France Internationale

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Written by Daniel Finnan

26 November 2011 at 17:42

Libya will not be governed by extremists, says new PM

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Abdurrahim el-Keib

Abdurrahim el-Keib

In an exclusive interview on Tuesday Libya’s new interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib told RFI that worries over the introduction of sharia law in Libya are unfounded. He says his new government will do its “best” to stop human rights abuses and investigate those that have already taken place.

Interview: Abdurrahim el-Keib, Libya’s new prime minister

Radio France Internationale

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Written by Daniel Finnan

1 November 2011 at 23:45