19 November 2015 – Insufficient food, shelter, health services are among the top challenges displaced people are facing in Central Darfur , the United Nations relief wing has warned in a latest humanitarian update on the situation in Sudan.
For the first time since 2011 and after months of planning, an inter-agency mission visited Fanga Suk in Central Darfur’s Northern Jebel Marra locality, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and found that 7,875 displaced people and 10,000 people from the host community are in need of food, emergency shelter and household supplies, as well as water, health, education and protection services.
In this regard, the mission indicated that food, emergency shelter and household supplies will be soon provided to the displaced people in Fanga Suk.
Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is in contact with the Government to accelerate water and sanitation access in the area.
Noting that communities in West Darfur have difficulties to manage water facilities, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNICEF, along with partners, is beefing up trainings on veterinary services and water management, said the report.
With the mosquito-borne dengue fever being epidemic in 21 localities and causing about one third of the fatalities among the 392 cases in Darfur, the World Health Organization (WHO) has helped implementing about one third vector control activities by providing trainings to medical staff and activating additional surveillance sites, according to the report.
Turning to the Blue Nile state, despite the ongoing conflict, UNICEF is working with partners to offer child protection services to some 13,700 children, while confronting travel delay and insecurity challenges, according to the report.
Moreover, intensified fighting in South Sudan has led to a new influx refugees into Sudan. The United Nations refugee agency, in response, has boosted humanitarian assistance while addressing water and sanitation needs by funding to build 2,000 more latrines.
Oct 17 , 2015 (SANAA, Yemen) — Hundreds of Sudanese troops arrived in Yemen's southern port city of Aden on Saturday, the first batch of an expected 10,000 reinforcements for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the country's Shiite Houthi rebels, security officials said.
- Sudanese troops in Aden
The troops' mission is to secure Aden, which has seen an uptick in drive-by shootings of pro-government troop leaders and officials as extremists became more entrenched in the city in recent weeks, the pro-government security officials said.
Yemen's fighting pits the Houthis and allied army units against forces loyal to the coalition-backed internationally recognized government as well as southern separatists and other militants.
The latest assassination was of an Emirati officer in Aden's Mansoura neighborhood on Friday, killed by gunmen on a motorcycle, officials said. The United Arab Emirates is part of the Saudi-led coalition, which has been pounding rebel positions since March.
Although the attack, like several others, went unclaimed, the officials said they suspect Sunni extremists, who they say have made land grabs, exploiting the chaos engulfing the Arab world's poorest country. Yemen's al-Qaida, viewed by Washington as the terror network's most dangerous affiliate, is known to have used motorcycles in previous assassinations.
Earlier Saturday, al-Qaida militants set up security checkpoints and began enforcing sex segregation at the sole college in Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, neutral and pro-government security officials there said.
"First they took Mukalla and then Zinjibar. We are all worried Aden may be next," one pro-government security official told The Associated Press.
Yemen's al-Qaida branch overran Mukalla, the capital of sprawling Hadramawt province, in April. They have since gender-segregated public spaces there and publicly killed and flogged people, including on charges of "witchcraft," Mukalla residents told The Associated Press last week.
Also Saturday, airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition targeting Houthi rebels mistakenly struck a pro-government military encampment, killing at least 20 fighters and wounding another 20 in the latest instance of friendly fire in the anti-rebel camp, security officials said.
The fighters had just wrested the encampment from the Houthis in the southern Taiz province when airstrikes hit them, pro-government security officials said.
"They thought the Houthis were still there," one pro-government security official told The Associated Press.
Ground commanders have repeatedly complained of slow communication with military leadership in Riyadh, the officials added.
Meanwhile in the massive desert province of Jawf, Saudi airstrikes killed 13 Houthis, neutral security officials there said. The strikes are part of a plan to seize the northern province in order to advance on the Houthi heartland of Sadaa, pro-government officials said.
All officials and witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief reporters or fear reprisals.
October 7, 2015 (Washington) – George Clooney seems to have limitless energy for the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan. From his outspokenness about theDarfur conflict to his launching a project to track human-rights abuses in the region, Clooney’s use of his Hollywood star power on behalf of South Sudan has not always been well-received, but it is not about to stop. He now wants to help promote coffee as a means to diversify the oil-rich country’s economy.
- George Clooney
Today (Oct. 7), Nespresso, the world’s biggest producer of single-serve coffee and coffee machines, announced the launch of its first ever coffee to be exported from the country. Clooney, a spokesman for Nespresso in Europe, convinced the Swiss-based company to invest in reviving South Sudan’s coffee-production industry, which suffered a blow during decades of civil war.
Since 2011, Nespresso has been working with TechnoServe, a US-headquartered NGO, to train more than 500 coffee farmers, replant trees, and set up mills in the Yei region of South Sudan.
Four years later, the coffee, called Suluja ti South Sudan—meaning “beginning of South Sudan” in Kakwa, a language indigenous to the region—is now ready for export. France is the first country that will get a taste of it, starting this month.
Nespresso says it will spend $2.6 million (2.5 million Swiss Francs) in the coming years to further the coffee’s development as a commercial product and to expand the endeavor to include several thousand farmers by 2020. While it does not expect quick returns—a payoff is likely to take many years to materialize—the company says it “sees this as a long-term investment in helping to revive the coffee industry in South Sudan.”
TechnoServe CEO William Warshauer told Bloomberg he believes coffee “can become the second-biggest export from South Sudan after oil. Having said that, we should recognize that it’s still the early days and volumes are very small and the political situation very fragile.”
Oil accounts for 99.82% of exports from South Sudan, according to theObservatory of Economic Complexity, a trade-data visualization site created at the MIT Media Lab. Its dependency makes it especially vulnerable to shocks in energy prices.
With its economy expected to contract by 7.5% this year, the east African country needs to diversify its exports to raise its non-oil revenue. Coffee may be a step in the right direction.
South Sudan is known in some circles as the”cradle of coffee.” According to Nespresso, it is believed to be one of the few places in the world where wild coffee, Arabica and Robusta, grows.
October 2, 2015 (Washington) – The struggling government of South Sudan says the U.S. must do more to support the democracy it helped create in the nation four years ago, asserting that the Obama administration and the international community are unfairly blaming the leadership in Juba for dragging its feet on a peace deal with rebels in the country’s civil war.
- Barack Hussein Obama
Without clearer American leadership and backing, said Awan Riak, a top adviser to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the cycle of violence that has gripped the country since it achieved independence will only continue.
“We cannot make it alone, and we will not succeed alone,” Mr. Riak said in an interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Thursday, suggesting that Washington has an obligation to intervene with resources that none of South Sudan’s neighbors can provide.
“If they see their child is perishing,” he said, “I do not think that the United States of America will just stand watching things.”
At the same time, however, Mr. Riak said the Obama administration and many others in the international community have unfairly portrayed the government as the aggressor in South Sudan’s internal strife and that U.S. officials are turning a blind eye to ongoing meddling by the government of Sudan to the north.
He said Mr. Kiir has ceded to pressure from the White House to sign a peace deal with Khartoum-backed rebels in recent weeks in the hope that the Obama administration would follow through with funding to ensure that the accord is implemented.
“There is a need for the [U.S.] to cooperate with our government,” he said, asserting that suggestions by administration officials that Mr. Kiir is to blame for the nation’s problems are “not helpful” and “not productive.”
The South Sudanese president and rebel leaders traded charges this week over who had violated a cease-fire as the two sides tried to implement the August peace accord. Mr. Kiir also faced skepticism from the United Nations when he participated by video hookup in a high-level summit this week on the country’s difficulties reaching a power-sharing accord.
“I hope you will not betray and disappoint us,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Mr. Kiir.
The South Sudanese president told the conference, “I know there are people who doubt my commitment. I will prove the doubting Thomases wrong.”
South Sudan’s plight, Mr. Riak said, has grown more precarious by fact that the price of oil — the war-torn African nation’s economic lifeline — has plummeted in the past year.
“We are not even meeting our budgetary obligations towards delivery of services to our people,” he said. “And now, with the [peace] agreement itself coming in as another process to be followed when we are having all these economic challenges, we find it difficult to move forward without [financial] support.”
Although the Obama administration spent the initial years of South Sudan’s independence backing the Kiir government, the relationship began to sour when the South Sudanese president sacked his entire Cabinet — including Vice President Riek Machar, now the leader of the rebel forces — in 2013.
During the months leading up to the purge, Mr. Kiir had gone on an anti-corruption campaign. He accused dozens of officials in his own government of gutting the new nation’s accounts and illegally moving the money to overseas markets.
Mr. Kiir said some 75 current and former officials had enriched themselves, often by paying cash for foreign properties.
He also made headlines by writing letters to foreign leaders, including President Obama, calling on them to help recover some $4 billion he said was stolen from South Sudan’s government.
Washington’s lack of action on the matter prompted frustration among officials in Mr. Kiir’s new government.
The sacking of Mr. Machar, meanwhile, highlighted other divisions on the nation’s political scene, underscoring the friction between the two men over what Juba’s long-term oil-sharing relationship should be with Sudan, from which the south had declared independence in 2011.
Mr. Machar was seen to advocate reconciliation with Khartoum, whileMr. Kiir was seen to want a more aggressive posture toward the northern neighbors, whose “Janjaweed” militants were accused of carrying out genocide against Sudanese civilians in Darfur during years of civil war between north and south.
Upon his dismissal, Mr. Machar emerged as the main leader of opposition rebels that the Kiir government says are backed by Khartoum. Further complicating matters, both men, who hail from different ethnic tribes, have stoked clan loyalties in an effort to recruit supporters.
With that as a backdrop, the Obama administration appeared to ease off its support for the Kiir government last year and encouraged the government to strike a peace deal with Mr. Machar’s rebel force.
Mr. Riak made clear Thursday that the U.S. pressure did not sit well withMr. Kiir.
It was only after the White House threatened last month to rally the United Nations for an arms embargo on South Sudan that Mr. Kiiragreed to sign a deal with Mr. Machar and his rebels, which calls for Mr. Machar to be reinstated as vice president.
Despite his complaints, Mr. Riak said Thursday that the Juba government wants to turn “a new page with the United States of America.”
The Obama administration said it has already given more than $1 billion in aid to South Sudan since independence.
But Mr. Riak said more money is needed to implement the peace deal, which includes disarming Mr. Machar’s rebels.
He did not name a specific dollar amount, but he made it clear that his visit to Washington, which includes meetings at the White House and the State Department, aims to convince the administration that Mr. Kiiris trying to do right and hopes to get U.S. financial support in return.
“If there is something that we are not doing right in the government, we have to be told and cautioned,” Mr. Riak said. “But if blames are always done, we feel that something is terribly wrong and it has to be corrected.”
He stressed that American companies have much opportunity in the resource-rich African country.
“We are a country that has resources that should be exploited for the mutual benefit of all of our countries, not only the people of South Sudan — and yet, it is a place where people are still suffering, not even affording to have food on the table, despite all these blessings we have,”Mr. Riak said. “These are areas we feel we have to cooperate on, and if the [U.S.] will take the lead in the process of investment and development, the rest of the world will follow. We cannot make it alone, and we will not succeed alone.”
Sep 25 , 2015 (KHARTOUM) – President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir pointed out that the Country is in need for dialogue and the current time in Sudan is necessitates adoption of dialogue as means for maintaining the unity and political, economic, and social stability of the Country.
- S. Leaders of political parties
Speaking on occasion of Eid Al-Adha, President Al-Bashir congratulated those who safeguarding the Country from the Armed Forces, National Intelligence and Security Service, police, people's Defense Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, disclosing that they are carrying out their duties in protecting security and sovereignty of the Country.
He also congratulated forces participated in Decisive Storm Operation defending the Two Holy Mosques and restoring legitimacy in Yemen.
President Al-Bashir congratulated the Palestinian people who are subjecting to aggression these days, calling all governments and people to support Palestine to repulse the aggression.
He extended congratulation to Syrians and Yemenis who are existing in Sudan and to all Arab and Islamic communities as well as foreign Muslim communities in Sudan.
September 25, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities announced today that one of their citizens was among the victims of the stampede that occurred near the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia said that 717 pilgrims were killed and more than 850 injured in the crush. 131 Iranians were among the dead, according to Iranian news agencies prompting Tehran to declare a three-day mourning period.
The Saudi health minister Khalid al-Falih, said in a statement that the stampede may have been caused by “some pilgrims who didn’t follow the guidelines and instructions issued by the responsible authorities”.
According to the director of the Sudanese Hajj and Umrah commission al-Motee’ Mohammed Ahmed, one Sudanese pilgrim died during the stampede while two others were injured.
He denied any link between today’s disaster and the death of two other Sudanese women stressing that they passed away before the stampede in Mina occurred.
He noted that the crush occurred near the camps of the Sudanese pilgrims which in the aftermath turned into an emergency site to rescue the injured.
This is the deadliest accident to occur during the annual hajj pilgrimage season since 1990 when 1,426 pilgrims suffocated in a tunnel near Mecca.
August 26, 2015 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir has finally signed the long-awaited internationally backed and regional brokered peace deal, raising hopes of possible end to the 20-month old conflict in the world’s youngest nation.
Kiir inked the deal at 4.54 pm (local time) at an event attended by his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemarian Desalegn and Sudan’s vice president, Bakari Hassan.
He said he accepted to sign the deal because they were faced with the option of either rejecting peace or accepting war to continue against the will of the South Sudanese.
The South Sudanese leader, however accused forces loyal to former vice-president and armed opposition leader, Riek Machar of allegedly attacking government forces just hours prior to Wednesday’s signing of the agreement before regional leaders.
“As we have gathered here, the spoilers of peace have just launched an attack on the position of our forces in Bentiu and in Nhialdiu. They did this afternoon. You can now see who is for peace and who is for continuous war”, Kiir said in the capital, Juba.
“We will sign this document, but I want you regional leaders to stand with us during the implementation because if it is left to us alone, we will spoil it”, he added, warning that some provisions in the accord should not be ignored for a just and durable peace.
“If our reservations are ignored, it will not be in the interest of a just peace,” said Kiir.
INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE WAS KEY
The Enough Project, in a statement published Wednesday, welcomed the signing by the South Sudan president of a peace agreement to end the civil war that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths since the conflict began in December 2013.
John Prendergast, the founding director of the Enough Project said concerted pressure from neighboring governments and the broader international community was instrumental in convincing Kiir to sign the deal after missing the 17 August deadline.
"President [Barrack] Obama’s direct engagement with regional leaders during his trip to Africa in late July was essential in cultivating what had been missing so far in the negotiations — international leverage aimed at pressuring the warring parties towards peace," Prendergast said in a statement extended.
"The successful implementation of the agreement also depends largely on ending impunity for economic and atrocity crimes. The U.S., UK, and other partners should pursue global efforts to trace, seize, freeze, and return the proceeds of corruption back to the people of South Sudan,” he further stressed, adding, “Those that profit from the war should not be able to do so with impunity, even if a peace agreement is signed.”
Justine Fleischner, an analyst with Enough Project, said "The compromise agreement does not resolve the multiple crises facing South Sudan on issues of governance, security, accountability, and economic development, but rather provides a starting point for the parties to come back together and get down to the business of rebuilding their war-torn nation. Only by putting the interests of their people ahead of their own self-interests may peace prevail in South Sudan.”
END TO MASSIVE SUFFERING
Amnesty International said the signing of the peace deal by government was an important and vital step in ending the violence and addressing the massive human suffering in the nation.
The campaign group reiterated calls for both parties to embrace an unequivocal commitment to accountability for atrocities committed during the conflict to ensure a lasting peace.
“Both sides must uphold the terms of the peace deal in order to ensure that immediate steps are taken to bring those responsible for crimes under international law to trial and provide full reparations to victims,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“Silencing the guns and signing accords is not enough, if South Sudan is really committed to ushering in a new era of peace and accountability, the international community must remain vigilant and take concrete steps to ensure accountability”, she added.
The United Nations Security Council, African Union and South Sudan’s neighbours, Jackson stressed, have crucial roles to play to ensure mechanisms established during the peace process are successfully implemented to bring perpetrators to justice.
August 18, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan has called on the Egyptian authorities to fulfill earlier pledges to release 44 Sudanese nationals currently being held in Egypt for alleged trespassing.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Sudanese Ambassador to Egypt Abdul-Mahmoud Abdul-Halim said Khartoum was “disappointed” by Egypt’s failure thus far to free the detainees.
Abdul-Halim added that he had met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to whom he had conveyed Sudan’s “disappointment”.
Last week, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi issued a pardon for the 44 Sudanese nationals detained on charges of illegal trespass.
The move came in response to an earlier decision by the Sudanese authorities to free 101 Egyptian fishermen detained for alleged spying and trespassing in Sudanese territorial waters.
August 4, 2015 (WASHINGTON) – Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes and genocide charges, is planning to travel to New York in September to speak at the United Nations, Sudan's deputy U.N. envoy said on Monday.
A provisional U.N. agenda for a sustainable development summit lists the Sudanese head of state as scheduled to speak on Sept. 26. The summit is due to formally adopt a plan for the world's sustainable development over the next 15 years.
When asked if Bashir would be attending the summit, Sudan's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Hassan Hamid Hassan said: "Yes." He gave no further details. A provisional agenda for the U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders, which begins on Sept. 28, only lists Sudan as being represented at ministerial level.
Sudan's foreign ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadiq declined to comment.
Bashir wanted to speak at the U.N. General Assembly in 2013, but Sudanese officials said his U.S. visa application was left pending, preventing him from traveling. Washington described the visa request at the time as "deplorable."
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department was not immediately available for comment on Bashir's plans to visit New York next month.
The Hague-based International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010, accusing him of masterminding genocide and other atrocities in his campaign to crush a revolt in the western Darfur region.
Members of the International Criminal Court are obliged to act on arrest warrants. The United States is not a member. Washington also has a special agreement to allow leaders of U.N. member states to attend the annual General Assembly.
Bashir, who rejects the court's authority, has managed to travel within Africa and the Middle East. He was recently forced to flee South Africa, however, after a court ruled he should be banned from leaving pending the outcome of a hearing on his possible arrest.
July 25, 2015 (Nairobi) - US President Barack Obama has praised Africa's economic and business potential in a speech in Nairobi on the first full day of his visit to Kenya.
"Africa is on the move... People are being lifted out of poverty, incomes are up (and) the middle class is growing," he told a business summit.
Later, he will visit a memorial to the 1998 US embassy bombing, before talks on security with Kenya's president.
He arrived on Friday for his first visit as president to his father's homeland.
The trip has been described as a "homecoming" by Kenyan media, and crowds cheered Mr Obama's motorcade as it travelled from the airport.
In Nairobi on Saturday morning, the US president was presiding over the opening of a Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
He will then visit the memorial park on the site of the US embassy attack.
More than 200 people, including 12 Americans and 34 local embassy staff, died in the blast which was blamed on al-Qaeda.”
A simultaneous attack on the US embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killed 11 people and wounded 70.
Later, Mr Obama is expected to hold bilateral talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
BBC East Africa correspondent Karen Allen says it is security and Kenya's counter-terrorism efforts that are likely to dominate the talks.
Kenya has been targeted by the militant Somalia-based Islamist group al-Shabab which killed at least 67 people in an attack on Nairobi's Westgate shopping complex in 2013.
The group also staged an attack on the university in Garissa, northern Kenya, earlier this year in which 148 people died.
Although trade and security are featuring strongly in Mr Obama's visit, he has also pledged to deliver a "blunt message" to African leaders about gay rights and discrimination.
Security is tight for Mr Obama's visit with about 10,000 police officers deployed in Nairobi, major roads closed and US military planes patrolling overhead.
On his arrival at Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, he was hugged by his half-sister Auma and later, at dinner, the president was joined by more relatives including "Mama Sarah", who helped to raise his late father.
Our correspondent says Mr Obama's visit would have been diplomatically impossible three years ago when President Kenyatta faced charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The case against Mr Kenyatta has since been dropped and the way seems clear for a restoration of ties, she adds.
After his visit to Kenya, Mr Obama will travel on to Ethiopia where he will become the first US leader to address the African Union.
"I'll be the first US president to not only visit Kenya and Ethiopia, but also to address the continent as a whole, building off the African summit that we did here which was historic and has, I think, deepened the kinds of already strong relationships that we have across the continent."
Giving the young opportunities
"A while back, when we started looking at strategies to reach out to the Muslim world, to reach out to developed countries, a common theme emerged, which was people are not interested in just being... patronised. And being given aid. They're interested in building capacity."
"We welcome Chinese aid into Africa. I think we think that's a good thing. We don't want to discourage it. As I've said before, what I also want to make sure though is that trade is benefiting the ordinary Kenyan and the ordinary Ethiopian and the ordinary Guinean and not just a few elites."
"As somebody who has family in Kenya and knows the history of how the country so often is held back because women and girls are not treated fairly, I think those same values apply when it comes to different sexual orientations."
Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm EDT- Google announced today that it has expanded access to free apps on Google Play to users in Sudan for the first time, allowing even more users to check out what Google Play has to offer. From Google:
As part of a commitment to helping more people around the globe use technology to communicate, find and create information, we're announcing the availability of free apps and games on +Google Play in Sudan for the first time!
Google says that this is part of an effort to bring access to more Google services on a global scale, and follows similar rollouts to Cuba, Myanmar, and Iran last year. It's unclear if and when paid content may make it's way to Sudan, but this is good news regardless.
July 8, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The United States embassy in Khartoum has on Wednesday announced resumption of immigrant visa processing in Sudan for the first time in nearly 20 years.
“Starting in July 2015, applicants for all categories of Immigrant Visas, including Immediate Relatives (IR) Non-Preference Family, Fiance’s (K visas) and Diversity Visa Lottery winners will be able to interview and process their visas in Khartoum, Sudan”, said the US embassy in a statement released on Wednesday.
It should be mentioned that residents of Sudan have been required to travel to the US embassy in Cairo to process their immigrant visas, which entailed a great deal of time, expense, and effort.
The US has included Sudan since 1993 on the list of states that sponsor terrorism and later imposed economic sanctions which Khartoum argues that it has affected vital sectors such as aviation and rail transport and incurring losses exceeding $40 billion.
Washington calls for the resolution conflicts in the Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur as a prerequisite for normalizing ties.
The move is announced weeks before the arrival of the UN special envoy Donald Booth who will conduct talks on ways to normalize relations.
July 01, 2015 (Riyadh) – Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on Wednesday promised his entire $32 billion (28.8 billion euro) fortune to charitable projects in coming years, in one of the biggest ever such pledges.
The pledge is "maybe... the first such big announcement" of its kind in the region, and is modelled on a charity established by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the United States, the prince told reporters.
Alwaleed said his charity "will help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world."
The money "will be allocated according to a well-devised plan throughout the coming years", he said, but stressed there was no time limit for the donation to be spent.
Alwaleed said he would head a board of trustees tasked with spending the funds, which would still be used after his death "for humanitarian projects and initiatives".
The 60-year-old magnate belongs to the Saudi royal family and is a nephew of king Abdullah, who died on January 23.
In the conservative Muslim kingdom, Alwaleed, who holds no government rank, is unusual for his high profile and periodic comments about economic issues.
"We are clearly in very close coordination with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation", which is already working with Alwaleed on a polio eradication project, he said.
"This is very much separate from my ownership in Kingdom Holding," and there should be no impact on the publicly listed company's share price, Alwaleed told reporters on the 66th-floor headquarters of the firm which he chairs.
- 'Dramatic and drastic'-
But he said his charitable commitment would provide even more incentive for his business investments to be profitable.
As well as media stakes, Kingdom Holding has interests ranging from the Euro Disney theme park to Four Seasons hotels and Citigroup.
Alwaleed is constructing a tower in the Red Sea city of Jeddah that is to rise more than one kilometre (almost 3,300 feet) to be the world's tallest building.
Earlier this year, he opened a pan-Arab news channel in Bahrain but authorities there shut the station after less than 24 hours on air and a new home is being sought.
Alwaleed last week in Paris signed a letter of intent with France's CDC International Capital to create the first French-Saudi investment fund, worth up to $400 million.
A separate deal saw a French consortium and CDC IC invest about $150 million in Kingdom Holding.
Alwaleed told reporters he has already donated a total of $3.5 billion over more than 35 years through his Alwaleed Philanthropies.
The charity has distributed houses and provided electricity to isolated Saudi communities, while supporting other projects around the world.
He said he announced his pledge now, after years of preparation, to institutionalise the process "so they can continue after my lifetime".
Flanked by his son Prince Khaled and daughter Princess Reem, he said they will be president and vice-president of the charity after he dies.
"I believe that a person should take dramatic and drastic decisions at his peak," Alwaleed said, proclaiming himself to be in good shape.
"I'm very healthy, enough to bike every day three hours," he said. "I assure you my health is good."
June 21, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – South African government agencies drafted plans to apprehend Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir during his participation in the African Union (AU) summit should the High Court issue an order to this effect, according to a news report.
Bashir’s attendance drew widespread controversy both inside and outside South Africa given his status as an individual wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur since 2003.
South Africa, as an ICC member, was theoretically obliged to arrest Bashir but chose not to on the grounds that he enjoys immunity as one of the delegations attending the AU summit.
The government also defied a local judge order asking it to prevent the Sudanese leader from leaving the country until a case brought by Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) to compel the arrest Bashir was heard.
But this order was also ignored by president Jacob Zuma’s cabinet and Bashir managed to fly out few hours before the North Gauteng High Court dismissed government’s immunity arguments and ordered his arrest to surrender him to the ICC.
Government then suggested that Bashir left the country without their knowledge. Per court orders they are required to submit an affidavit next week detailing how Bashir was allowed to return home.
A newspaper report published on Sunday however, suggested that several government agencies were readying to take Bashir into custody.
South Africa’s City Press said that a text message was sent at 6:15 pm local time to National Joint Operations (NATJOINTS) which is comprised of intelligence and security bodies.
“Re Sudan court order. All respective committees at NATJOINTS [National Joint Operations] were given tasks to come up with ops plans by 08:00 tomorrow morning,” the message reads in part.
“If an order is given to arrest Sudanese HoS. [al-Bashir] DHA DG [Department of Home Affairs Director-General] who is currently in court with the litigation personnel will give an instruction thereafter as to what needs to happen. BCOCC [border control operational coordinating committee] will have to ensure that that instruction is given to all ports of entry tonight whilst we are waiting upon DHA instruction.”
"The Home Ministry’s Director General is currently in court with the lawyers and he will instruct on what should happen,".
It is not clear who gave the order to government security agencies to hold back on their operational plans so the Sudanese president could slip out of South Africa safely.
Insiders involved in making the arrangements said the movement schedule, which the department of international relations sends out daily, showed that the department had not been consulted in the “escape plan” or that another department had taken over the arrangements for al-Bashir’s movements. It is not clear which department that is.
City Press said that the operational documentation for the AU summit showed that Bashir left a day earlier.
Bashir was scheduled to take off from O. R. Tambo International Airport on Tuesday June 16 at 11:00 am but ended up leaving from Waterkloof military airbase shortly before noon on Monday June 15.
City Press further said that Bashir’s security detail requested five extra pieces of weaponry in anticipation of any arrest attempt.
“5 firearms and 70 ammunition. They are requesting for 5 additional firearms” the document reads.
South African border police officers stamp such weapons authorizations upon entry into the country, and again when they leave.
South Africa’s Sunday Times said that other parts of the government including the presidency, defense and police ministry were determined to protect Bashir’s stay in South Africa - even if it meant flouting court rulings and undermining the constitution.
A representative of al-Bashir additionally approached Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who currently chairs the AU, and AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – President Zuma’s former wife – to confirm al-Bashir would not be arrested and handed over to the ICC.
But as the court case proceeded, Bashir and his entourage started getting concerned.
The Sunday Times said word had spread that Bashir had been tipped off that he must leave "because the case did not bode well for him", and he was escorted by members of the police force’s Presidential Protection Unit to his plane at a military air base.
“When people were making noise on Sunday that he must be arrested, we just told Bashir to relax,” a security service source was quoted as saying.
“We had given him the assurance. We just told him he was going home and we would deal with the court later,” the source added.
Another source said that senior government ministers at an AU summit gala dinner “were gloating on how they are going to teach the judges a lesson by secretly arranging for Bashir to leave before the matter is heard in court.”
June 18, 2015 (Washington) - President Obama marked the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Wednesday, offering his “warmest greetings” to those celebrating in the United States and abroad.
“Muslims honor each day of Ramadan as a day of patient endurance through fasting, and each night as a night of gratitude through prayers,” Obama said in a statement. “It is a time to reinforce faith, compassion and forgiveness, and perseverance through adversity.”
The president added that during Ramadan, “Muslims around the globe reach out to assist those afflicted by conflict, hunger, poverty and disease,” a nod to the violent conflict raging in the Middle East.
The advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the Syrian civil war have forced millions of people from their homes. A Global Peace Index report found a third of the world’s refugees come from those two countries, according to The Atlantic.
A U.S.-led coalition is fighting the group, assisting Iraqi ground forces with training, equipment and airstrikes. The Obama administration has also pledged more than $400 million in aid to displaced Iraqis since last year.
Obama said he will welcome American Muslims to the White House for an annual iftar dinner at the conclusion of the holy month.
“Here in the United States, American Muslims join their fellow citizens to serve the less fortunate, hosting inter-faith activities that build understanding and remind us that we stand together as one American family,” the president said. “The diversity and patriotism of America’s religious communities give strength to all of us, and our freedom to worship reminds us of the values we share.”
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