Sudan and Europe…Development in Relations and New Phase

Sudan and Europe…Development in Relations and New Phase

Sudanese – European relations have remarkably improved recently. Ongoing level of communications between the two sides is indicative that the ties are entering into a new phase.
Priorities for both sides have changed a lot compared to previous mutual views due to conflict as well as other common issues related to illegal immigration and terrorism, which changed Europeans view on Sudan. 
Sudan considers Europe a power to reckon with. The two sides have a lot in common, and that EU is a major contributor to reconstruction and development in East Sudan and humanitarian aid, as well.
Progress in EU relations with Sudan has provoked some organizations hostile to Sudan, which heavily counted on the continuity of severed relations between Sudan and the West.
These organizations have continued to depict Sudan as plagued with conflicts; and therefore, merits punishments and regime change. they continued to support rebel movements and media campaign from time to time by lobby groups and other influential personalities – a mere indication of how terrorized such parties are.
The public opinion in Europe is more focused on internal issues and less enthusiastic about issues overseas they consider as lost case such as rebellion in Sudan.

Change motives

Observers hold that different factors have compelled Europeans to change their approach to dealing with Sudan, which was based on sanctions, boycott and isolation over the past decades.
Among many others factors, the European have become free of US hegemony which dragged the world into chaos manifested in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose preemptive strikes caused further instability and insecurity. secondly the theory of necessity for central states to assume the mission of control security, stabilizing and controlling borders; in addition to supporting rebels proved to have put EU interest at stake.
Groups hostile to Sudan have lost credibility as authorities have come to believe that the propaganda led by such groups in support of rebellion has harmed Europe.

Death boats

The smuggling of illegal immigrants across the sea into Europe has brought about a radical shift in EU relations with Sudan. the agenda connected to immigration has effected a new reality – taking into account a role countries viewed as source of illegal immigration can play with Europe in this regard.
Sudan’s location constituted a key element in combating illegal immigration, especially those fleeing dire economic conditions or unrest in Libya to cross the sea into Europe, especially after the fall of Gaddafi regime; hence the need to engage Sudan in fighting illegal immigration in cooperation with EU not single EU nations.
Accordingly, Khartoum Operation was launched between EU and the African Horn countries to come up with a plan to fight and address the repercussions of illegal immigration. The plan was outlined on the margin of the First regional conference on combating human trafficking in the African Horn, held in Khartoum in October 2014.
Khartoum Operation is a joint plan between EU and other ten countries from the region of the African Horn, which exports tens of thousands of illegal immigrants; in addition to transit countries.

New era

NATO’s intervention to topple Gaddafi has created nothing but instability along the Mediterranean northern coast, Greater Sahara and Chad Lake region and beyond, which all combined are impacting stability in Europe due to growing influx of refugees crossing the Mediterranean towards EU, which in turn is feeding human trafficking networks in the absence of a central government in Libya.   
The EU has resorted to providing economic assistance to local communities in a bid to stem potential threats such as violence and human trafficking, armed conflicts, in addition its participation in emergency humanitarian relief aid operations.

New ground

The Present EU policies are more inclined to engaging Sudan and finding a common ground in aid of enhancing interest under fierce rivalry between traditional superpowers and growing powers, on one hand, and the US on the other.
exchange of visits between Sudan and EU have grown over the past, manifested in the visit by Sudanese Minister of Foreign Ibrahim Ghandour to EU Headquarters on 16-18th February, where he met EU Officer for EU foreign affairs policy as well as the deputy EU secretary of humanitarian aid and crisis management; in addition to EU commissioner for immigration, citizenship and domestic affairs.
the Head of EU mission in Sudan said the visit of Sudanese official to EU would pave the way for a lasting Sudanese-EU dialogue, adding that the visit was on the right track to rectify EU relations with Sudan and open the door to a better understanding of Sudan and the region; allow opportunities for exploring news areas of cooperation including immigration and preventing terrorism and climate change, as well as other issues related to human rights.
He noted that EU is spending estimated 150 million in Euros on 68 developmental and humanitarian projects in collaboration with the UN and Sudanese non-governmental organizations.

Notable opening-up

From the above-mentioned, it could be said that Sudanese-EU relations have remarkably improved based on clear action plans, especially with Germany, the most active EU member state working on developing diplomatic channels with Sudan, and to some degree France; in addition to Sudan’s efforts to better relations with East European countries – manifested in Sudanese minister of foreign visit to Poland last March, a first visit of its kind by a Sudanese official to the country since 40 years ago.
The ongoing developments in Sudanese foreign relations could better be painted as a “great opening-up”, which may place the country into a new phase – especially under the present EU’s preoccupation with the influx of illegal immigrants viewed as economic and social threat; as well as terrorism, namely ISIS which is striking the heart of EU, spreading terror among EU citizens — a fear they have not seen since the World Second War, only on TV.

By Editor – smc, 5 hours 7 minutes ago 

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Pharma firms beware, CCI is inquiring

The Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order dated February 10 imposing, for the first time, a penalty of R74.63 crore on a major pharmaceutical company (at a rate of only 3% of the average turnover, though it could have gone up to 10%) for refusing to appoint a stockiest in Kerala unless an NOC was obtained from the local Chemists and Druggist Association has come a shock for pharma manufacturers. This order has not only reversed the earlier trend of the CCI not penalising drug-makers, but has also left them wondering how they could be punished, as they themselves are victims of an organised, all-India body of syndicate of chemists and dealers. Going forward, the CCI may investigate pharma companies on similar grounds, and in case it again imposes penalties, an appeal will have to be filed in the Competition Appellate Tribunal.

Pharma companies seem to be the latest target of the CCI against the perceived anticompetitive conduct in the sector. The CCI proposes to undertake a baseline study/survey in the pharmaceutical sector and healthcare delivery systems/services in Delhi NCR. The inquiry covers issues such as non-availability of essential medicines, increasing price of drugs, nexus between pharmaceutical companies and pharmacists, between pharmacists and doctors, between doctors and pathological laboratories, between doctors and pharmaceutical companies, and between hospitals and insurance companies.

Background of sector inquiry: Three Indian generic companies—Lupin, Matrix Laboratories (subsidiary of Mylan) and Niche Generics (subsidiary of Unichem Laboratories)—along with Slovenian KRRA and Anglo-Israeli Teva UK/Teva Pharmaceutical Industries were raided by European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition for allegedly entering into secret agreements with French company Servier, apparently to delay the entry of the generic version of cardiovascular drug Perindopril (invented by Servier). This led to the initiation of a “sector inquiry” in the pharma sector by the European Commission on January 15, 2008, which concluded with the adoption of final report on July 8, 2009. The primary focus of the inquiry was to examine the competitive relationship between originator and generic companies, and amongst originator companies. Towards this end, the European Commission selected 43 originator companies and 27 generic companies for in depth analysis, which represent 80% of the relevant turnover in the EU.

Even earlier, on June 15, 2005, a fine of 60 million euros was imposed on AstraZeneca AB and AstraZeneca Plc (AZ) for misusing public procedures and regulations in a number of EEA states, with a view to excluding generic firms and parallel traders from competing against AZ’s anti-ulcer drug Losec. The abuse consisted of a pattern of misleading representations made by AZ before the patent offices of a number of EEA countries in connection with its patent application for Omeprazole (the active ingredient in Losec). Due to misleading information, AZ obtained extra protection in several countries and consequently the entry of cheaper generic versions of Losec was delayed, entailing costs on healthcare systems and consumers.

However, for the current sector inquiry, the CCI has so far dealt with three kinds of competition issues. One, the repeated allegation of district-level stockist associations prohibiting pharma companies to procure an NOC from them before appointing any new stockist in the district. Two, restriction on the introduction of medicines within a state unless an approval is sought by way of a “product information system (PIS)” charge to be paid. Three, trade associations either prohibiting discounts or, at the very least, restricting the level of discounts given by retailers to end-customers. To ensure compliance and non-deterrence, the associations issue diktats with threats of boycott for any deference by pharma companies or retailers.

The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) exercises oversight over state- and district-level associations. At one level or the other, resolutions and instructions flow from AIOCD to state associations who, in turn, ask district/regional-level associations to implement them within their respective areas of coordination.

The first case filed by Cuttack’s Santuka Associates (a clearing and forwarding agent) against AIOCD initiated this inquiry. While declaring conduct of AIOCD in patronising and promoting the above practices anti-competitive, the CCI imposed monetary penalty on AIOCD. It was also directed to give an undertaking that the aforementioned practices would be discontinued. A series of such cases have been filed against various state- and district-level associations by individual chemists, resulting in fines and “cease and desist” orders by the CCI.

However, there has been an apparent defiance of CCI orders by local chemists’ associations. For instance, in one of the later cases dealt with by the CCI, despite clear knowledge of CCI’s order prohibiting such anti-competitive conduct, not only was the practice being continued, but a discussion to use “political clout” to handle CCI issues was found recorded in the minutes of the meeting of one state-level association.

The latest salvo from the CCI comes through its penalty on Alkem Laboratories. In a complaint filed primarily against the pharma association for coercing Alkem for not appointing stockists unless an NOC was granted by the chemist association for appointing stockists, the CCI held the pharma manufacturer guilty of having an anti-competitive agreement with the chemist association. Even though the CCI recognised that the instructions to follow such a practice were issued by the association (along with usual threats), the mere following of such instructions by the pharma company was considered as an “anti-competitive agreement”. It is based on an earlier CCI decision against Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai, for entering into an exclusive agreement with the stem cell collection services provider, Cryobank Inc, and should alone serve as a warning signal to the pharma sector apart from the results of the pending sector inquiry.

The author, based in Delhi, heads the competition law practice at Vaish Associates, Advocates. Views are personal

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Mine action is an 'investment in humanity,' says UN chief, calling for a world free of explosive remnants of war

4 April 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki moon today called for a world free of the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war, stressing that those hazards prevent aid from reaching those in need, and endanger the lives of the displaced persons returning home and children going to school.

“Mine action is critical for an effective humanitarian response in conflict and post-conflict situations,” the UN chief said in his message on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Mine action is “an investment in humanity,” as it provides the safe space to undertake development and reconstruction activities, and lay the foundations of sustainable peace, he added.

Yet in far too many places around the world, new or re-emerging conflicts are creating yet another legacy of explosive hazards, such as landmines, cluster munitions and improvised explosive devices, he said, expressing concern particularly about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The UN is working to alleviate the suffering of affected communities in high-risk environments.

In South Sudan, 14 million square meters of contaminated land have been cleared; 3,000 kilometres of road made safe; and 30,000 mines and explosive remnants of war destroyed. And more than half a million people have received risk education over the last 12 months.

“This has enabled the delivery of food and water and the safe movement of those fleeing fighting,” he said.

Even in Syria, mine action actors are achieving some important life-saving results. Since August 2015, 14 tonnes of unexploded ordnance have been destroyed, and last year, more than 2 million Syrians received risk education in schools and communities, and more than 5,400 people received physical rehabilitation services.

But millions of Syrian people continue to face this deadly threat every day. There is an urgent need for increased support as well as full, sustained and unhindered access for all mine action activities.

Mr. Ban said that his report, in advance of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held next month in Istanbul, highlighted the unacceptable impact of mines and explosive remnants of war on civilians. It also stressed the need for States to become parties to, and implement and comply with, relevant international humanitarian instruments.

In December 2015, the General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution underlining the need for mine action to remain at the top of the international agenda, especially in humanitarian crises, he noted.

Daniel Craig, who was appointed last year by Mr. Ban as UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards, said that the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) plays a critical role in improving the immediate chances of survival of civilians and aid workers caught up in armed violence.

“UNMAS provides a long-term solution to the biggest problem facing the victims of war. How to return to a normal life,” he said in his message on the Day.

Best known for his role as 007 in the James Bond films, Mr. Craig said he is in awe of the men and women at UNMAS as well as their energy and courage.

“I am asking you to join me to promote their work and fund their programmes, so that you, too, can make a difference in eliminating the dangers of mines and explosive hazards,” he said.

On 8 December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year should be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. This year’s theme is ‘Mine Action is Humanitarian Action.’


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John Key backs Helen Clark for United Nations Secretary-General, comparing her to Lorde and Lydia ko

Helen Clark has been the head of the United Nations Development Programme for the past seven years. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Helen Clark has been the head of the United Nations Development Programme for the past seven years. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Helen Clark will today join the contest to become the next United Nations Secretary-General. Prime Minister John Key is expected to confirm her nomination at Parliament this morning.

She is expected make her own announcement in New York a short time later.

Mr Key is thought to have already begun lobbying for the former Prime Minister, at last week’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, hosted by US President Barack Obama.

Among the leaders he spoke to were Mr Obama, Prime Ministers David Cameron (Britain), Justin Trudeau (Canada) and Narendra Modi (India) and Chilean President Michele Bachelet.

Mr Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully are thought to have approved a high-level campaign and funding to support her bid.

Helen Clark has been the head of the United Nations Development Programme for the past seven years, overseeing a global budget of $6 billion in 170 countries.

She will be the eighth candidate to enter the contest for the Secretary-General’s job.

Continued below.

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Mr Key, who defeated her to become Prime Minister in 2008, has been unstinting in his praise of her capability, and that continued yesterday at his post-Cabinet press conference.

“I’ve said to anyone who has asked me that Helen Clark would be a great Secretary-General of the United Nations.”

Asked if it would be hard promoting a political rival, he said they had competed when he was Leader of the Opposition and she was Prime Minister. “But there’s a mature point at which you put politics to one side and you acknowledge and hopefully celebrate the skills of a New Zealander, not because of their political tendencies but because of their ability and capacity to do a job,” he said.

“Personally, I think if Helen becomes the next Sec-Gen of the United Nations, New Zealanders would celebrate in the same way they celebrate Lorde for her achievement in singing and Lydia Ko in golf and so many other New Zealanders in what we do.”

He would do everything he could to get her over the line, he said.

But he also said people had to realistic about their expectations.

“Whatever happens, this is going to be a highly contested campaign and there’s a lot of politics involved.” He thought she could do immensely well in the job. “But I also thought, myself, that Tim Groser was the best to head the WTO [World Trade Organisation] and he didn’t get that.”

Most of the other seven candidates for the job are from Eastern Europe, which has never held the post before.

If the appointment continued to be determined by geographic rotation, then it would be considered to be Eastern Europe’s turn.

But the 70-year-old UN is being pressed in some quarters to appoint its first woman head and to dispense with the geographic rotation.

Russia will be critical. It has publicly said it expects the next Secretary-General to come from Eastern Europe and it has a veto, along with the other four permanent members of the Security Council – the United States, China, Britain and France.

With the UN General Assembly scheduled to hold a candidates’ forum on April 13, Helen Clark has been under the clock to declare her hand.

Under United Nations rules, the decision is made by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.

Helen Clark’s chances would be good if the Eastern Europe countries, including Russia, failed to unite around a candidate – or if a candidate around which they united was unacceptable to other permanent members of the Security Council.

Rudd puts transtasman contest in play

The stealth campaign by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for the job as Secretary General was revealed by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the weekend.

Mr Rudd has avoided any confirmation he wants the job.

But Ms Bishop told reporters in Washington DC, covering her attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit, that several leaders had mentioned Mr Rudd’s interest.

“It seems that Mr Rudd has visited a number of people and expressed an interest,” she said.

He had not yet formally asked the Australian Government for support.

Asked if they were talking about supporting Mr Rudd, she said: “No, they were talking about the number of potential candidates.”

A transtasman contest could come into play if no consensus candidate from Eastern Europe emerged.

Mr Rudd’s candidacy has raised eyebrows given his record in politics.

He was elected Prime Minister in 2007 but was ditched by his own party part way through the first term. After finally regaining the position from Julia Gillard near the end of Labor’s second term, he was beaten at the polling booth by Liberal leader Tony Abbott, who has since been deposed by Malcolm Turnbull.

In order to avoid having to support a Rudd candidacy, Mr Abbott arranged for the Australian Government to privately commit in writing to supporting any Helen Clark bid, in the event she decided to declare. However, he did not consult Ms Bishop and the pledge was revealed only after Mr Turnbull had deposed Mr Abbott – much to Ms Bishop’s annoyance.

Many pundits in Australia believe the Australian Government would have to support a bid by Mr Rudd, were he to formally declare and seek it. That would prevent Australia actively campaigning for Helen Clark who is considered to have a much stronger chance than Mr Rudd because of her track record, and her gender.

But some pundits have said it should support any Helen Clark bid.

Mr Rudd had a famously short fuse and in one of his tantrums, at the Copenhagen climate change conference, described the Chinese as “rat f**kers.”

NZ Herald

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