Sunday, 30 October 2011

CHOGM 2011 Final Communique

Commonwealth Heads of Government met in Perth, Australia, from 28 to 30 October 2011, under the theme ‘Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience’. Reflecting on the unique nature of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association which brings together 54[1] developing and developed nations from six continents, Heads reaffirmed their commitment to the values and principles of the Commonwealth and agreed to a series of actions to maintain the Commonwealth’s relevance, to ensure its effectiveness in responding to contemporary global challenges and to build resilient societies and economies. Given the significant challenges facing the global economy, Heads emphasised the importance of the international community working cooperatively to secure a sustainable global recovery. Heads highlighted the importance of a strong response to these challenges to provide the necessary confidence to global markets.

Heads welcomed the report of the Eminent Persons Group, ‘A Commonwealth of the People: Time for Urgent Reform’, and thanked members of the Group for their outstanding work. They agreed that the report provided a strong basis to revitalise the Commonwealth and its institutions and ensure its continued relevance to member states and their people – today and in the future.

To this end, Heads agreed to the following:

1. Reform of the Commonwealth to ensure that it is a more effective institution, responsive to members’ needs, and capable of tackling the significant global challenges of the 21st century.

This includes:

a) the reform of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG);

b) consideration of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) recommendations on reform;

c) strengthening the management and delivery of Commonwealth programmes, including through regular review of their efficiency, effectiveness and results, against measurable indicators;

d) to this end, focusing delivery of practical assistance to members through greater prioritisation and alignment of programmes to members’ priorities on the basis of Commonwealth comparative advantage and, where necessary, retiring programmes that do not meet these criteria; and

e) undertaking associated reform of the Commonwealth Secretariat and ensuring the adequacy of resources and their appropriate use to enable it to deliver on its agreed mandates.

2. To actively promote, uphold, preserve and defend the fundamental values, principles and aspirations of the Commonwealth. Heads agreed to do this by:

a) agreeing to the recommendations of CMAG to strengthen the role of CMAG, in order to enable the Group to deal with the full range of serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth values;

b) resolving that the composition of CMAG for the next biennium should be as follows: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Jamaica, Maldives, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.

c) agreeing that there should be a "Charter of the Commonwealth", as proposed by the Eminent Persons Group, embodying the principles contained in previous declarations, drawn together in a single, consolidated document that is not legally binding.

d) Heads will agree to a text for the Charter in 2012, following a process of national consultations, consideration by a Task Force of Ministers drawn from all geographical groupings of the Commonwealth, and a full meeting of Foreign Ministers in New York in September;

e) tasking the Secretary-General and CMAG to further evaluate relevant options relating to the EPG's proposal for a Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights and to report back to Foreign Ministers at their September meeting in New York;

f) noting that the EPG's recommendations relating to CMAG were consistent with the CMAG reforms adopted by Heads at this meeting;

g) responding to the remaining EPG recommendations as follows

i. adopting without reservation 30 recommendations;

ii. adopting, subject to consideration of financial implications, 12 further recommendations;

iii. asking the Task Force of Ministers (para 2(d) above) to provide more detailed advice on 43 other recommendations to Foreign Ministers at their September meeting in New York, as a basis for further decision by Heads; and

iv. deeming 11 recommendations inappropriate for adoption.

h) strengthening the newly established Commonwealth Network of Election Management Bodies as well as election monitoring, and supporting capacity building for professional election administrators;

i) urging the interim government of Fiji to restore democracy without further delay, to respect human rights, and to uphold the rule of law, and reaffirming that the Commonwealth should continue to remain engaged with Fiji and support efforts towards that end;

j) urging members to consider becoming parties to all major international human rights instruments; to implement fully the rights and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, as well as those human rights treaties to which they are a party; to uphold these rights and freedoms; to share best practice and lessons learned, including from the United Nations Universal Periodic Review process; and to continue to support the work of National Human Rights Institutions; and

k) promoting tolerance, respect, understanding and religious freedom which, inter alia, are essential to the development of free and democratic societies.

3. Revitalising the Commonwealth’s development priorities to ensure it effectively articulates and meets the development needs of member states today and in the future. To this end, Heads:

a) agreed the Perth Declaration on Food Security Principles;

b) reflected on the multiple development challenges confronting small states in the global economy as a result of their inherent vulnerabilities, and agreed that this is having an adverse impact on their sustainable development and growth prospects; and in this context:

i. welcomed and endorsed the outcomes of the first Global Biennial Conference of Small States held in 2010;

ii. endorsed the outcomes of the Commonwealth and Developing Small States meeting, which stressed in relation to Commonwealth and developing small states, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS): the importance of taking urgent action on climate change and sustainable development, particularly through the G20, the UN climate change conference in Durban, and Rio+20; the need to work towards legally binding outcomes under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) capable of avoiding dangerous climate change; the need for enhanced action on adaptation and transparent and accessible climate finance to support developing small states; the need for practical outcomes at Rio+20 on the 'blue economy' to ensure the sustainable management of our oceans as the basis for livelihoods, food security and economic development; and for Commonwealth G20 members to reflect these concerns and perspectives at the upcoming G20 summit;

iii. agreed that vulnerability to climate change is widespread and particularly affects small states. The Commonwealth has an important role to play in advancing the climate change priorities of Commonwealth small and vulnerable states as well as fostering mutual collaboration among Commonwealth countries in order to address such priorities;

iv. agreed to assist small and climate vulnerable states develop their capacity to respond in a timely and effective way to disasters and to build their national disaster response capabilities;

v. welcomed the establishment of the Commonwealth Office for Small States in Geneva and urged further support for it;

vi. considered the substantive work that the Commonwealth has done on the issue of small states, including on SIDS, and called for this expertise to be shared with other international institutions, such as the UN, which are involved in the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy and the Barbados Programme of Action;

c) recalled the Port of Spain Climate Change Consensus and noted the undisputed threat that climate change poses to the security, prosperity and economic and social development of the people, as well as the impact it has in terms of deepening poverty and affecting the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and reaffirmed their commitment to work towards a shared vision for long-term cooperative action to achieve the objective of the UNFCCC, addressing mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building in a balanced, integrated and comprehensive manner; in this context:

i. committed to advocate for these actions at the UNFCCC conference in Durban and beyond, for legally binding outcomes;

ii. committed to work together to build climate resilience and to facilitate the efficient mobilisation of funding for urgent and effective mitigation, adaptation and capacity building, prioritising the most vulnerable developing countries, including small island developing states; and recognised the importance of markets in maximising global emission reductions at the least possible cost, and the promotion of technology transfer to these countries;

iii. recognising the existential impact of climate change on coastal and island communities, emphasised the great importance of building national resilience to ameliorate local climate change-induced population displacement, as well as the imperative to reach strong and effective solutions to reduce global emissions and enhance multilateral, regional and bilateral cooperation on adaptation;

iv. committed to practical action in line with the Lake Victoria Commonwealth Climate Change Action Plan, including efforts to facilitate immediate access to climate change finance and technology transfer, especially for mitigation and adaptation;

d) agreed to focus on practical and ambitious outcomes at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012 to address the challenges facing this and future generations, including with a view to expediting implementation of the outcomes of the Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States; in this regard:

i. committed to advocate urgent action at Rio+20 to assist developing states to build resilience through sustainable development, in particular by taking steps to transition towards green growth trajectories and to strengthen institutional frameworks for achieving this transition. Rio+20 should deliver an outcome which allows progress to be measured in a meaningful way. The value of natural resources should be given due consideration in economic decision-making;

ii. agreed to explore options for sharing best practice on resource management and promote initiatives to provide access to monitoring, research, education and training, and technical and policy expertise;

iii. welcomed the briefing they received on the emerging conclusions of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability;

iv. recognised the need to preserve the policy space of countries to frame their own national strategies to prioritise according to their national circumstances;

v. supported and upheld the role and place of local government, in partnership with the private sector, for promoting strategies for localism, sustainable development and economic growth, and supported the implementation of the Cardiff Consensus for Local Economic Development in the Commonwealth;

vi. recognised the valuable role clean and renewable energy will play in a sustainable future and the importance of promoting the implementation of green technology;

vii. recognised the importance of energy security through improved efficiency measures and the promotion of clean and affordable energy, including renewable energy;

viii. recognised also the need for sustainable management of oceans for livelihoods, food security and economic development;

ix. emphasised that poverty eradication and the provision of universal access to energy for all remain important priorities and that the green economy is a pathway to achieve these objectives on the basis of the Rio Principles of Sustainable Development;

e) agreed to promote more effective natural resource management through greater transparency and better governance, and taking account of the values of natural capital in decision-making, build on the Commonwealth’s longstanding practical contributions to member governments in this area. To that end:

i. agreed to build capacity in and share best practice on resource management, and welcomed members’ initiatives to provide access to research, education and training, and technical and policy expertise;

ii. welcomed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative principles and encouraged Commonwealth countries to consider supporting or implementing them;

iii. committed to combating the illegal exploitation of natural resources, including through supporting the Lusaka Declaration of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region;

f) agreed to promote inclusive education and to accelerate efforts to achieve quality universal primary education, in line with the MDGs and Education For All goals. They further agreed to:

i. help children attain basic levels of literacy and numeracy by strengthening international mechanisms and cooperation, including through new technologies;

ii. create opportunities for skills development and quality secondary and higher education;

iii. call for a successful completion of the first replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education in Copenhagen in November 2011;

g) committed to universal access to health care, and services to improve maternal and reproductive health, supporting access to safe, affordable and quality medicines, and support for all Commonwealth people by accelerating the implementation of international conventions and eradicating disease by improving domestic health strategies and immunisation systems. Heads agreed to do this by:

i. accelerating action and financial support to eradicate polio including by improving routine immunisation systems;

ii. accelerating implementation of the Political Declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases and the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control;

iii. committing to accelerating action to implement the objectives outlined in the 2011 UN Political Declaration on AIDS;

iv. recognising that malaria is one of the leading causes of death and a major obstacle to the achievement of sustainable development and poverty alleviation, agreeing to work proactively with key stakeholders and partners towards accelerated implementation of strategies to reduce malarial morbidity and mortality in member countries;

v. addressing malnutrition, measles, acute respiratory infections and diarrhoea as leading causes of death for children under five, as well as prevalent diseases such as tuberculosis and rotavirus, including through proven international mechanisms such as the GAVI Alliance;

h) committed to maximise the economic and social benefits of migration to improve the resilience and prosperity of Commonwealth members, whilst addressing the challenges posed by irregular migration which undermines legal migration policies. They:

i. called for stronger international cooperation to manage migration effectively in countries of origin, transit and destination, in order to bolster migration’s positive effects and to enhance safety nets for migrants;

ii. called for cooperation in the fight against irregular migration, including in particular the readmission of own nationals staying irregularly in other states, in accordance with bilateral agreements and international obligations;

iii. in this context, articulated the link between migration and development, affirming the importance of adopting migration strategies that would reduce the cost of migration, and create incentives for diaspora communities to invest their financial resources and expertise in the development of their countries of origin;

iv. noted and encouraged participation in the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which Mauritius will host in 2012;

i) agreed to work together, provide financial support to, and make the policy and institutional changes needed to accelerate achieving the MDGs; and:

i. directed the Commonwealth Secretariat to assist members in having their priorities reflected at the special event to be organised by the President of the Sixty-Eighth session of the UN General Assembly to take stock of efforts made towards achieving the MDGs;

j) called for renewed international commitment to the principles of aid effectiveness to achieve the MDGs by 2015, more imperative than ever in the current challenging global economic and financial environment and, in this regard, noted with appreciation the Commonwealth Statement on Accelerating Development with More Effective Aid, and expressed their desire to achieve a successful outcome at the Fourth High-Level Forum in Busan;

k) welcomed the launch of the Commonwealth Connects portal as a contemporary platform for networking, building partnerships and strengthening the Commonwealth’s values and effectiveness, and encouraged its use; and

l) reiterated their support for the Commonwealth Connects programme which is encouraging greater effort from member countries to harness the benefits provided by technology, through promoting strategic partnerships, building ICT capacity and sharing ICT expertise; encouraged member countries to contribute to the Commonwealth Connects Special Fund; and requested the Secretariat’s continued support for the programme.

4. Working together and with global partners to secure the global economic recovery and ensure a stronger, more sustainable and balanced global economic system that will benefit all Commonwealth countries, by:

a) committing to avoid trade protectionism and advocating the importance of an open, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system as a driver of global growth and to support development, and in this context:

i. congratulated the thirteen Commonwealth countries that have agreed to formal negotiations to create an African Free Trade Area, covering 26 countries from the Cape to Cairo, by 2014;

b) committing also to support regional economic integration, enhancing market access and building the capacity of LDCs, land-locked developing states, and other small and vulnerable economies, including SIDS, to participate in and benefit from the global trading and economic system and to further encourage pan-Commonwealth trade;

c) reaffirming their commitment to pursuing development-oriented and ambitious results in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round, but noting with grave concern the impasse in current negotiations and calling upon WTO members to make substantive progress at the Eighth WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2011 for an early conclusion of the Doha Round, they:

i. reaffirmed the role of the World Trade Organization in making rules which keep pace with demands generated by global economic shifts, help police protectionist measures, and contribute to a sustainable global economic recovery;

ii. urged the international community to accelerate efforts to enhance market access for LDCs, land-locked developing states and SIDS at the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference;

iii. urged support for an anti-protectionist pledge at the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference;

iv. considered innovative approaches to drive forward trade liberalisation and to strengthen the multilateral rules-based trading system;

v. further reaffirmed the importance of sustained and predictable Aid for Trade in strengthening the capacity of developing country members, in particular small and vulnerable economies, to become more competitive and better able to capture opportunities created by more open regional and global markets. To this end, Heads called for continued support for Aid for Trade and improved disbursement procedures at the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference;

d) urging the G20 to take the necessary steps to address current economic instability and to take concrete steps to put open trade, jobs, social protection and economic development at the heart of the recovery. This will provide the necessary confidence to global markets and ensure a more stable global economic environment. In support of this, Commonwealth countries:

i. committed to take all necessary steps to support the global economic recovery;

ii. supported ongoing high-level political engagement with the G20 chair and, in this context, welcomed the interaction of the Secretaries-General of the Commonwealth and La Francophonie with the Chair of the G20, as initiated in 2010;

iii. agreed that Commonwealth G20 members would undertake to convey Commonwealth members’ perspectives and priority concerns to the G20 Summit in Cannes, France;

iv. agreed to launch an annual officials-level Commonwealth meeting on the G20 development agenda, building on the Commonwealth’s current contributions to the G20 Development Working Group; and

e) agreeing to reduce the cost of remittance transfers by removing barriers to remitting and encouraging greater competition in the transfer market, by endorsing the World Bank’s General Principles for International Remittance Services

i. in line with this, Commonwealth countries committed to implement practical measures at the national level to reduce the cost of remittances.

5. Improving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the Commonwealth by:

a) supporting national programmes to this effect, including initiatives to eliminate gender-based violence, intensifying efforts to promote women’s decision-making roles at all levels, and continuing to improve advocacy for women’s leadership and the empowerment of women as leaders;

b) implementing international instruments and agreements on women’s rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Commonwealth’s Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005-2015, and the ‘Joint Statement on Advancing Women’s Political Participation’[2] and UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1325, 1888 and 1889;[3]

c) applauding the work of the Commonwealth Secretariat in promoting the significance of the 2011 Commonwealth Day Theme “Women as Agents of Change" and the centrality of gender equality and the empowerment of women to achieving the MDGs;

d) directing the Commonwealth Secretariat to institutionalise the principles of gender mainstreaming, as enshrined in the Commonwealth Plan of Action; and to provide recommendations to Heads, through the Tenth Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM) on steps that need to be taken to mainstream gender equality across all Commonwealth work; and to make real progress on implementation of the Plan of Action;

e) supporting the call made by Ministers at the Ninth WAMM held in Bridgetown, Barbados in June 2010, for a more effective response from all actors in the global community to the disproportionately negative impact of the current international and national economic crises on women; and

f) giving due consideration to the domestic legislation of member countries, the Commonwealth may address the issue of early and forced marriage, and consider actions to support the rights of women and children and to share its best practices to promote the implementation of measures to tackle early and forced marriage.

6. Providing a greater voice and more effective role for youth in the Commonwealth, who represent over 50 per cent of the Commonwealth population, by:

a) directing the Commonwealth Secretariat to undertake an assessment of the Commonwealth’s progress on the Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment, to be submitted with recommendations to Heads, through the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in 2012, on steps that need to be taken to improve youth engagement and empowerment;

b) enhancing communication with youth, collecting and sharing good practices, and ensuring the voice of youth is represented in Commonwealth actions at the national and international level; and

c) recognising the important role of government, the private sector and technical and vocational training institutions in addressing youth unemployment and the vital importance of sport in assisting young people to stay healthy, contribute to society and develop into leaders of their communities.

7. Maintaining their commitment to a stable and secure national and international environment, as a foundation for sustainable growth and resilience for Commonwealth countries and the broader international community. Heads committed to improve international security by:

a) unequivocally preventing the use of their territories for the support, incitement to violence or commission of terrorist acts, implementing the necessary legal framework for the suppression of terrorist financing, and preventing the raising and use of funds by terrorists, terrorist front organisations, and transnational terrorist organisations;

b) accelerating efforts to conclude negotiations on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism;

c) accelerating efforts to combat piracy in a manner consistent with international law and to strengthen maritime security, including through enhancing the capacity of coastal states;

d) urging the international community to recognise that the menace of piracy in the Indian Ocean cannot be effectively tackled in the absence of political stability and security in Somalia; urging concerted efforts towards strengthening the Transitional Federal Government and other state institutions, including the security sector; encouraging the international community to mobilise additional funding for AMISOM, as appropriate; and encouraging global support in combating piracy and terrorism, including through enhanced maritime security;

e) encouraging states to continue supporting the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia in its coordination of international counter-piracy efforts;

f) combating proliferation and trafficking of illicit small arms and light weapons;

g) embracing moderation as an important value to overcome all forms of extremism, as called for in the ‘Global Movement of the Moderates’;

h) encouraging participation in the 2012 Diplomatic Conference to negotiate on the basis of consensus an effective Arms Trade Treaty which is of broad universal acceptance;

i) improving legislation and capacity in tackling cyber crime and other cyber space security threats, including through the Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum’s Cyber Crime Initiative;

j) affirming support for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and its Seventh Review Conference in December 2011; and

k) continuing to tackle the root causes of conflict, including through the promotion of democracy, development and strong legitimate institutions.

8. Combating people smuggling and human trafficking by clamping down on illicit criminal organisations and bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice, while protecting and supporting the victims of trafficking. Heads committed to:

a) fight people-smuggling as part of their broader efforts to maintain border integrity and manage migration, including through enhancing border security and regional cooperation;

b) put in place the necessary legal and administrative framework to address the challenge of human trafficking; and affirmed their commitment to the principle of solidarity and cooperation between states with regard to the identification, assistance and protection of victims of trafficking; and

c) comply with all obligations arising under international law and urged all countries to become parties to and implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocols thereto, in particular the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

9. To promote the future of the Commonwealth through the strong and important voice of its people by:

a) welcoming the contribution made by inter-governmental, associated and other Commonwealth organisations, including the Commonwealth Foundation, Commonwealth of Learning, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Commonwealth Business Council, Commonwealth Local Government Forum and the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management;

b) urging Commonwealth organisations and civil society to enhance Commonwealth networks and partnerships with a view to achieving the fundamental values and aspirations of the Commonwealth;

c) relaunching the Commonwealth Foundation in 2012, while retaining its fundamental intergovernmental nature and maintaining its accountability to member states, with a revised mandate and Memorandum of Understanding so that it can more effectively deliver the objectives of strengthening and mobilising civil society in support of Commonwealth principles and priorities; and

d) welcoming the outcomes of the Commonwealth People’s Forum, Business Forum, and Youth Forum.

10. To reaffirm previous CHOGM Communiqués on Cyprus and express full support for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus and the efforts of the leaders of the two communities, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General’s Good Offices Mission, to bring about a comprehensive Cyprus settlement, based on the UN Charter and the relevant UNSCRs for a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, single international personality and a single citizenship, in a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality as described in the relevant UNSCRs. Heads called for the implementation of UNSCRs, in particular 365 (1974), 541 (1983), 550 (1984), and 1251 (1999) and reiterated their support for the full respect of the human rights of all Cypriots and for the accounting for all missing persons. To extend their full support and solidarity to the Republic of Cyprus in the exercise of its sovereign rights under international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to explore and exploit the natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

11. To note recent developments in the ongoing efforts of Belize to seek a just, peaceful and definitive resolution to Guatemala’s territorial claims. Heads noted that, due to the electoral campaigns scheduled in both Belize and Guatemala in the coming months, it was envisaged that the earliest date for the referenda required to submit the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be in late 2013. Heads expressed a high level of confidence that the dispute could be resolved through the judicial procedure of the ICJ, and urged the support and financial assistance of the international community for this process. Heads further expressed satisfaction with the ongoing Confidence Building Measures supported by the Organization of American States, which had contributed immensely to stability in the adjacent border areas of Belize and Guatemala. They noted with concern the environmental problems being faced by Belize in its national parks along its adjacent areas with Guatemala due to the increasing encroachments by Guatemalan citizens for illegal logging. Heads reiterated their firm support for the territorial integrity, security and sovereignty of Belize, and mandated the Secretary-General to continue to convene the Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize whenever necessary.

12. Having received a report on Guyana-Venezuela relations, to express their satisfaction that the relations between the two countries continued to grow and deepen. Heads noted that the Foreign Ministers of Guyana and Venezuela had met recently in Trinidad and Tobago to address the concerns of the Government of Venezuela over Guyana’s submission of a claim to an extended continental shelf to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Heads expressed the view that the current climate in the relations between Guyana and Venezuela was conducive to the realisation of the mandate of the UN Good Offices Process. Heads reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the maintenance and safeguarding of Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

13. To welcome the interest shown by the Government of South Sudan in joining the Commonwealth, and to request the Commonwealth Secretariat to pursue the established procedures in this regard.

14. To look forward to the conditions being created for the return of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth and continue to encourage the parties to implement the Global Political Agreement faithfully and effectively.

15. To congratulate the Head of the Commonwealth on her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Heads welcomed proposed Commonwealth initiatives to mark this historic occasion, in particular the establishment of a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, which would be funded by private donations and voluntary contributions from governments. This will support charitable projects and organisations across the Commonwealth, focusing on areas such as tackling curable diseases, the promotion of all forms of education and culture and other Commonwealth priorities.

16. To reappoint Mr Kamalesh Sharma as Commonwealth Secretary-General for a further four-year term commencing April 2012.

17. Finally, to reaffirm their decisions to meet next in Sri Lanka in 2013 and thereafter in Mauritius in 2015, as well as to welcome the offer by Malaysia to host the 2019 CHOGM.



Friday, 28 October 2011

CHOGM Opening Ceremony

Speech - Her Majesty the Queen at the CHOGM 2011 Opening Ceremony

Prime Minister Gillard, Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for your kind welcome. I am delighted to join you all here in Perth for a meeting that promises to bring new vibrancy to the Commonwealth.
This city is known for its optimism; this state is known for its opportunity and potential; and, this country is known for its warmth, openness and generosity. We therefore come together in a place that embraces so much of the Commonwealth’s spirit, and we are grateful to the people of Australia for their welcome.
CHOGM was last in this country at Coolum in 2002. It came when the world was still reeling from a new chapter in global terrorism. They were uncertain times at that summit.

CHOGM was last in this country at Coolum in 2002. It came when the world was still reeling from a new chapter in global terrorism. They were uncertain times at that summit.
Almost a decade later, we find ourselves confronting new and fresh challenges: insecurity and uncertainty in finance, food supply, climate change, and trade and development. This Commonwealth meeting is, for its part, the perfect opportunity to address these issues and find responses to today’s crises and challenges

I should like to thank the Commonwealth Eminent Persons’ Group for their work, and I look forward to hearing the outcome of discussion of their recommendations. And I wish Heads of Government well in agreeing further reforms that respond boldly to the aspirations of today and that keep the Commonwealth fresh and fit for tomorrow. In these deliberations we should not forget that this is an association not only of governments but also of peoples. That is what makes it so relevant in this age of global information and communication.

The theme this year is, ‘Women as Agents of Change’. It reminds us of the potential in our societies that is yet to be fully unlocked, and it encourages us to find ways to allow all girls and women to play their full part. We must continue to strive in our own countries and across the Commonwealth together to promote that theme in a lasting way beyond this year.

I have had the good fortune, together with
Prince Philip, to attend many CHOGMs over many years. Their importance has always been in precise relationship to their relevance: always being attuned to the issues of the day, and always looking to the future with a sense of vision and practical action to match. In your deliberations over the days ahead, you have the encouragement of the whole Commonwealth to maintain this vital tradition

The results of this meeting may be global in impact or simply touch a single individual, even imperceptibly. But in every respect I trust that the results will be positive and enduring.

I conclude with an Aboriginal proverb which is itself enduring:
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to declare open this Twenty-First Meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government.
Fri, 2011-10-28 12:55

Foreign Ministers Meeting Session 2

The Commonwealth
The world’s largest and smallest, richest and poorest countries make up the Commonwealth, which is home to two billion citizens of all faiths and ethnicities – over half of whom are 25 or under. Member countries span six continents and oceans from Africa (19) to Asia (8), the Americas (2), the Caribbean (12), Europe (3) and the South Pacific (10).

The theme for CHOGM 2011, Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience, reflects the importance of addressing pressing challenges at multiple levels: as individual states, as members of the Commonwealth, and as part of the global community

The resilience we build nationally, as an association, and globally will ensure that we can better meet the challenges and better seize the opportunities of today and tomorrow

The Commonwealth, with roots as far back as the 1870's, believes in establishing partnerships between governments, business and civil society to build stronger democratic institutions and procedures.

This unique association was reconstituted in 1949 when Commonwealth Prime Ministers met and adopted what has become known as the ‘London Declaration’ where it was agreed all member countries would be “freely and equally associated.”
The Commonwealth has grown from just eight members in 1949, to 54 members in 2010*.

The Commonwealth Business Forum 2011 will be organised by the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) in collaboration with the Australian and Western Australian Governments and the private sector. The event will be held in Perth from the 25th to 27th October 2011 just prior to CHOGM as one of the associated events

Australian PM Julia Gillard at a Bilateral Meeting with the Vice President of the EU

CHOGM 2011

Civil Society Round Table

Ndugu mtanzania. Unakaribishwa katika fundraising ya maandalizi ya mazishi ya ndugu yetu Richard Agar itakayofanyika jumapili 30/10/2011 St Andrews United Reformed Church, London Road, Reading RG1 5BD. Muda ni saa nane kamilimchana (02:00pm).

Bank details: Mrs Joyce L Agar, Account numebr: 006 791 37, Sort Cod: 11 05 47, Halifax Bank.
Address ya mfiwa ni: 2 Lime close, Newbury, RG14 2PW, Tellphone: 077 8059 2265. Please foward kwa wengine.-- Jumuiya Ya Watanzania Reading-UKBlog : No: +447865673756

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Australian Prime Minister bilateral meeting with President of Nigeria

Pickles’ policies are contradictory, not thought through, incoherent, and unfair, says Benn
Hilary Benn MP, Labour's Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, speaking at the LGIU Conference today claimed Pickles’ policies are “contradictory, not thought through, incoherent, and unfair.”During the speech, Hilary Benn MP, said:

"Some policies are very hard to understand. I cannot fathom why the Government has scrapped the brownfield first policy – and very successful it was too – and I cannot understand why it has created so much uncertainty about the transition to the new Framework and where this will leave councils and communities in relations to developers. "The truth is that ministers have a long way to go to reassure people who fear that green England is under threat, and a long way to go to persuade us that we won’t see more appeals and more arguments about what the words of the new National Planning Policy Framework mean."Some policies are contradictory. The localisation of council tax benefit, with a 10% cut and protection for certain groups, is likely to end up hitting people who work but are on low incomes; the very opposite of what the DWP says it is trying to do to make work pay. "Others haven’t been thought through. The localisation of business rates is fine in principle as long as there is real incentive, that councils don’t lose out financially and there is a fair mechanism for redistribution that recognises disadvantage. But so far even those who favour the idea don’t think much of the proposals. "Some are plain incoherent. When money is tight, and CLG has faced huge cuts, to suddenly find £250m to try to bribe councils into changing decisions they themselves have made – in the spirit of localism - about how to collect people’s rubbish is bizarre and smacks of Whitehall knows best. "We have a housing crisis; a crisis of supply and a crisis of affordability. The housing budget has been slashed, the number of new homes built in England last year was the lowest for decades, and plans for 200,000 new homes have been abandoned since the election, in pa rt because of the chaos over planning."And some are plain unfair. As any of you who have seen the map that Newcastle City Council has produced will know, this show that the most deprived communities are being hardest hit. The most deprived 10% of single tier authorities will see their total spending power reduce by nearly four times as much as the least deprived 10%. So much for not balancing the books on the backs of the poorest."

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The day the Ben tv diplomatic awards team met the Guyana high commissioner at the mission in his capacity as the Dean of the Caribbean diplomatic corps

Ayoub mzee with His Excellency Laleshwar KN Singh, CCH-The High Commissioner for Guyana in the United Kingdom

The original Guiana was inhabited by semi-nomadic Amerindian tribes who lived by hunting and fishing; notably Arawaks and Caribs. It was divided by European powers into Spanish Guiana (Venezuela), Portuguese Guiana (Brazil), French Guiana, Dutch Guiana (Suriname) and British Guiana (Guyana). Colonial competition for territory began with the Spanish sighting in 1499. Probably temporary Spanish or Portuguese settlements were followed by Dutch settlement, first unsuccessfully at Pomeroon, and then (in 1627) under the protection of the Dutch West India Company on the Berbice River. Despite yielding from time to time to British, French and Portuguese invasions, the Dutch kept control until 1814, when the colonies of Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice were ceded to Britain. The Europeans imported African slaves to develop their plantations, first of tobacco and later sugar, and to labour on constructing the coastal drainage system and the elegant city of Georgetown. Some slaves escaped to the forest. Referred to as bush-blacks, these slaves eked out a living by panning for gold, hunting and subsistence agriculture.

The British administration merged the three colonies into British Guiana in 1831, but retained the Dutch administrative, legislative and legal system, whereby the country was directed by a governor, advised by councils of plantation owners. After the abolition of slavery, Indian and smaller numbers of Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese indentured labourers were brought in to work the estates. In 1928 a legislative council, with members appointed by the British government, was established, but members were elected after extensions of the franchise in 1943 and 1945. The country was by this period among the most advanced of the British colonial territories in the region, and became the headquarters of several regional educational and political institutions. CARICOM headquarters is located in Georgetown.
In 1953, a constitution with a bicameral legislature and ministerial system, based on elections under universal adult suffrage, was introduced. There was a general election, won by the People's Progressive Party (PPP), led by Dr Cheddi Jagan. Shortly after the 1953 elections, the UK suspended the constitution, decided to mark time in the advance towards self-government, and administered the country with a government composed largely of nominated members.

When, in 1957, the UK did introduce elected members, the legislature voted for more representative government. The UK called a constitutional conference which was held in 1960 and provided for a new constitution with full internal self-government. In the elections held in August 1961 under this constitution, the PPP again gained the majority. The UK held further constitutional conferences in 1962 and 1963, to settle terms for independence. The political parties failed to reach consensus.

The UK then selected a form of proportional representation which was aimed at preventing the People's Progressive Party (PPP) from forming the government. (It was also argued that, at this period of the 'Cuba crisis' with near-war between the US and USSR, the UK was under pressure to avoid allowing a Socialist government to come to power in Guyana.). Despite renewed disturbances, elections were held under the PR system, and brought to power a coalition of the People's National Congress led by Forbes Burnham and The United Force (TUF).

The new government finalised independence arrangements at a further constitutional conference, which was boycotted by the PPP. Guyana gained independence and joined the Commonwealth in May 1966, and became a Republic four years later.
Guyana is a Republic, divided into ten (10) administrative regions, with an Executive President and parliamentary legislature. The 1980 Constitution, amended in 2001, provides for an executive presidency and a unicameral legislature, the National Assembly, with 65 members directly elected by proportional representation: 40 at a national level and 25 at a regional level. The normal life of a parliament is five years. The President appoints the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet (which may include those from outside the Assembly), who are responsible to Parliament. The President is the leader of the largest party in the Assembly

Meet the new minister of Politics mr Sam and Mr Shina the minister for trade and investment at the nigeria high commission london

Press Releases: UN Security Council Resolution on Yemen
UN Security Council Resolution on Yemen
Press Statement
Mark C. TonerDeputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 21, 2011
Today the international community sent a clear, unified message that the time has come for President Saleh to allow the Yemeni people to live free from violence and insecurity. UN Security Council Resolution 2014 on Yemen is an important step toward realizing a brighter future for all Yemeni people. The international community must continue to stand together, speak with one voice, and support all Yemeni citizens who want a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous future.
The Yemeni people have been deprived of their universal human rights for too long, and too many innocent Yemenis have been killed. We urge the Government of Yemen to investigate those responsible for violence against peaceful protestors and hold them accountable for their crimes. The only way to meet the aspirations of the Yemeni people is immediately to begin a transition of power in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council's initiative.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


MEET AMBASSADOR A.NZE NFUMU ,the Equatorial Guinea ambassador in the Uk.The man who is single handedly trying to change the negative image of his country in the west

This is the head of the Nigeria air force attached to the Defence section of the Nigeria high commission in london.This when we presented a letter on ben tv diplmatic awards to the DA

Briefing On NATO Operations in Libya
Special Briefing
Ivo DaalderPermanent Representative to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Via Teleconference
Washington, DC
October 21, 2011
MS. FULTON: Hi. Good evening, everybody, and thank you for joining us at such a late hour and on short notice. As you know, it’s been a busy week for news coming out of Libya, and today, the North Atlantic Council met with Operation Unified Protector partners to assess the situation. We are very fortunate to have with us this evening the U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder to provide a briefing, a readout of the North Atlantic Council meeting, and give us an idea of what’s going to happen, what the next steps will be.
This is an on-the-record discussion, so without further ado, I’d like to turn it over to Ambassador Daalder.
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Thanks. Thanks again. Thank you all for joining. I know it’s kind of late for you, although it’s a little later here in Brussels. But we did have some news that we wanted to share with you all.
After a good discussion with the 27 other NATO allies and the five partners that are part of the Operation Unified Protector, we agreed today that the operation is coming to a close, that we – and we took the preliminary decision to end the operation on October 31st. That’s exactly seven months after the operation started. The council will meet early next week for a formal decision. And we also decided to wind down our operations while continuing to monitor the situation inside Libya and be ready to act if necessary if civilians are threatened. So we’ll move to an over-watch role over Libya to make sure that the situation remains moving forward in a positive direction, that there are no threats to civilians or attacks on civilians.
In many ways, this is a quite historic moment for NATO. It’s certainly a historic moment for the Libyan people, who have fought valiantly over the past nine months. NATO provided critical support to that effort to make sure that when it could, it could use air power to attack Qadhafi’s forces that were attacking civilians. And as a result of that effort and particularly as a result of the efforts of the Libyan people, the future is now firmly in the hands of all of the people of Libya.
NATO played a critical role in that effort, as I said, and the United States played an absolutely vital role in the NATO effort. As you will recall, back last March when we led the effort to get a UN Security Council resolution to authorize the use of force, it was the U.S. that led the effort to take out the air defense system of the Libyans and to – of the Libyan air force to make sure that we could establish a no-fly zone and provide the air protection against civilians that were being attacked.
As soon as that was done, we led the effort in NATO to make sure that NATO would take command and control of the operation, which happened on the 31st of March of this year, and made sure that the allies were sharing in the burden, both in terms of the strike missions but also in terms of enforcing the arms embargo and in terms of enforcing the no-fly zone, that they would provide the – most of the capabilities.
We were able to do that because the U.S. provided its unique capabilities – in particular, aerial refueling, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance, as well as search-and-rescue capabilities and leading efforts in the command and control system within NATO. That allowed the French and the UK and the Italians and the Belgians and the Danes and Norwegians and partners like Sweden and the UAE and Qatar to engage in military operations and to bring about the changes on the ground that we have seen over the last few months that have been accelerating over the last few months.
And now that Libya is truly in the hands of the Libyan people, with the expectation this weekend of the declaration of the liberation of Libya, it is time for NATO to end the operation and to be completed by October 31st.
So all in all, a great success for the people of Libya, a great success for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and a great success for the United States, which made these efforts possible.
I think at that point, it may be good to turn it over for questions.
MS. FULTON: Okay, fantastic. Operator, please, let’s open it up.
OPERATOR: Thank you. If you would like an open line, please unmute your phone, press *1, and record your name and affiliation.
Ilhan Tanir with Vatan Daily, your line is open.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you very much, Ambassador, for your insightful remarks. I have quick two questions. One is, if I am not mistaken, you stated that 31st of October is the end of the NATO mission. After that point, how you are going to oversee the situation that you described if there is civilian attacks? You are going to confront these attacks?
And my two – second question is: Many argue in the past there’s a roadmap from Libya operation for future operations. My question is: Since things are going very badly in Syria, do you think there are lessons for us to take from Libya operation going forward for Syria? Thanks so much.
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: I appreciate both of your questions. With respect to what would happen after the NATO operation ends on – which we expect to end on the 31st of October, part of the assessment that our military commanders have made and we are making in the North Atlantic Council, which will ultimately make the decision, is the degree to which the Libyan authorities are now capable of providing the protection to civilians. And it is our view that civilians can now be protected by the NTC, the National Transition Council, and soon the governing authorities in Libya. And there is no requirement anymore for NATO aircraft to provide that capability. There isn’t an organized loyalist opposition anymore that is capable of massing forces in big quantities and threatening civilians. And to the extent there are still threats, folks who can threaten civilians, the NTC and Libyan authorities will be able to take care of that. So that’s our judgment, and that’s the reason why we moved toward – to ending – winding down the operation and ending it by the end of the month.
With regard to what the Libya operation may mean for the future and whether it’s a model, each case, of course, is unique. There were very unique circumstances with respect to the Libya case. NATO early on made very clear that in order for NATO to involve itself in this operation, there needed to be a demonstrable need for military action, strong regional support, as well as a sound legal basis. And those three criteria came together in late March when the Arab League decided that it was necessary, in their view, to establish a no-fly zone and requested the UN Security Council to provide a mandate for such action. And of course, the kind of threats that were being – and attacks that were being waged by Qadhafi’s forces against the civilians in Libya, in Tripoli and the threat that was being posed in Benghazi, showed there was a demonstrable need.
In the case of Syria, there clearly is attacks by government forces on civilians. But it’s also clear that the opposition forces as well as the Arab League do not think it is a good idea for outsiders to intervene and they are strongly against that. Nor is it clear that intervention on the outside would have the desirable effect.
So each case is unique. In the case of Syria, the situation needs to be resolved by the government ceasing its attacks on civilians. And the government, in fact, has lost its legitimacy and now needs to step aside. Military force is not the answer in all circumstances and it’s probably not the answer in this circumstance.
QUESTION: I understand, sir. I have a very quick follow-up. There are some serious allegations that Syrian regime behind the latest PKK terrorist attacks in southeastern of Turkey, and now Turkey sent some 10,000 troops, according to some news reports. Do you think if these allegations are proved to be true, would this be one of the members of the NATO is being attacked by another country? Would it be everything – can this (inaudible) within this framework?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: I’m not familiar with the information. I just haven’t been – been focused too much in the last few days on what’s happening in Libya, and I’d just rather not comment on hypotheticals. Turkey, of course, is a strong and valuable member of the NATO alliance, and we are committed to the security of Turkey.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. FULTON: Okay, thanks. Next question, please.
OPERATOR: Viola Gienger with Bloomberg News, your line is open.
QUESTION: Hi, Ambassador Daalder. Thank you for doing the call even at this late hour your time. I’m not totally clear on the timeframe that you laid out. I know that the there’s a preliminary decision to end the operation on October 31st, but you also talked about winding down in the and over-watch. Is the winding down between now and October 31st? Is that what you mean? Or – and what period of time are you talking about in terms of the over-watch, and exactly what would that involve?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Sure, let me clarify it. Thanks for the question. I appreciate it.
The decision today was a preliminary decision that we will end the operation completely on the 31st of October. We will have a formal decision early next week. In the meantime, so as of today until the end of the operation, which we expect to be on the 31st of October, we will be winding down the operation. We will be doing much less on the maritime forces. There’s not much we can do on the arms embargo enforcement. The no-fly zone doesn’t need to be enforced anymore. And we will continue to monitor the situation and be ready to act, if necessary, if there are threats to civilians in this – in what we call this over-watch period, these 10 days between today and the end of October 31st.
And then, if confirmed next week that October 31st is indeed the end date, at that point the operation would cease to exist. The headquarters will be taken down, the forces that are now under NATO command would revert to national command, and the operation would be ended.
Does that clarify it?
QUESTION: Thank you. Yes, absolutely. Yes. Thank you very much.
MS. FULTON: Okay, thanks. Next question, please.
OPERATOR: Nadia Bilbassy with MBC Television, your line is open.
QUESTION: Thank you. Ambassador, the authorization by the UN Security Council Resolution 17 – 1973 to operate in Libya, does that mean if you talk about protecting civilians after October 31st, does that mean that NATO has to go back to the UN to require another resolution? Or you can get permission from the NTC itself and basically you can operate after that? Or altogether, you won’t be able to operate after that date legally?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: In terms of the legal basis, as you rightly mentioned, Nadia, 1973 provided the legal basis for the protection of civilians. That legal basis remains in effect, and in fact, it was reaffirmed in UN Security Council Resolution 2009, which reaffirmed that the protection of civilians was still mandated, that the UN Security Council would, of course, review that mandate as necessary. And that may happen in due course. But the mandate remains whether or not NATO fulfills that mandate. So that’s the first legal basis. Unless the Security Council actually ends the mandate, which it hasn’t done, the mandate remains.
If it does end the mandate, Libya as an independent country can ask for assistance from the international community if that’s desirable by the government. And that is for – a decision for it to make. Again, whether it would or wouldn’t would very much depend on the circumstances. What NATO has decided is that it believes that the mandate, the legal mandate under 1973, has now been fulfilled, that civilian protection no longer requires – at least for the – after we end the decision – the mission no longer requires a NATO air power, and that the NTC and the Libyan authorities will themselves be capable of providing protection to their own civilians.
MS. FULTON: Okay. Thank you. Operator, next question, please.
OPERATOR: Tejinder Singh with India TV Today. Your line is open.
QUESTION: Yes, thank you for doing this and at this late hour. My first question is: The UN Human Rights Commission is urging for an investigation into the death of Qadhafi. What is U.S. and NATO’s stand on that?
And then the second is that you mentioned the end of operations. What does that exactly mean? All operations come to an end, no NATO monitoring of Libya any more after October 31st? Thank you.
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Thank you for your question. In regard to the second question, once the operation ends, it ends. NATO will no longer have forces under its command and control that are either over the skies of Libya or in the maritime areas of Libya. These forces will revert back to national control and go about doing their business focused on other areas and other missions.
With respect to the developments yesterday, the United States welcomes the TNC’s declared intention to investigate what happened. We believe it needs to be done in a fully transparent manner, and we look forward to that investigation being completed.
QUESTION: And just a follow – a quick follow-up. You say this investigation. Who is going to investigate Qadhafi’s last hours before death?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: The TNC has already been working to determine the precise cause and circumstances of Qadhafi’s death, and we welcome that. We urge them to do it in an open and transparent manner, and we – just as we continue to urge them to treat prisoners humanely and abide by all international standards of justice and human rights. But it is (inaudible). Thanks.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. FULTON: Okay. With that, Operator, Operator, I think we have time for just maybe one more question.
OPERATOR: Cami McCormick with CBS News, your line is open.
QUESTION: Yes, thank you for taking the call. I was just wondering what your concerns are and what NATO’s concerns are about an armed insurgency, no matter how big or how small, and how you decided that the TNC or the NTC was able to handle the protection of civilians. What was your criteria?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Well, what we looked at in the criteria were a number of things. First is the status of Sirte, which was the last major holdout, and we considered the fall of Sirte a key indicator that the TNC would be able to have control over all population centers, which it now has.
The second thing that military commanders examined was the degree to which there were still organized military forces, units with heavy weapons that could threaten or indeed attack civilians. There are no longer organized military units. There are, of course, individuals who may still harbor loyalist feelings and tendencies and be willing and able to engage in violence, but they’re not part of organized military units that possess heavy weapons.
The third thing we looked at was the degree to which Qadhafi or some of his followers still had the command and control over such organized military units. And there was a determination by the military authorities again that not only Qadhafi’s demise made that impossible but that the command and control system itself was no longer functioning, that it was functioning in the end in two blocks in Sirte but not throughout the rest of the country.
And finally, we were looking at the degree to which the NTC could provide for the security of citizens throughout the country. And one of the clear indications came last week when there was, a week ago today, a small uprising of Qadhafi loyalists in Tripoli that was quickly put down by the local authorities, suggesting therefore that the NTC was capable of providing the kind of security for its own people that was necessary.
So it was a combination of those factors that we’re examining, and the military commanders this morning reached a conclusion that all of that added up to a situation in which NATO was no longer needed to fulfill the mandate to protect civilians.
In the meantime, we all agreed that there needed to be a short period, 10 days, in which we would monitor the situation, make sure that our judgment indeed of the military commanders remains correct. That’s the over-watch period that we have now entered into. And we believe that the circumstances on the ground will warrant and affirm the judgment of the military commanders, and that therefore on October 31st we can end the operation altogether.
MS. FULTON: Okay. With that, Ambassador Daalder, I just want to say thank you so much for your time. This has been extremely useful. We’d like to thank everybody again for joining us. We will have a transcript of this out as soon as we can. But this concludes the call. Thank you, very much, everybody, for joining.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Ayoub mzee with the former nigeria president H.E O.obasanjo

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 13:36:03 -0500

Liberation of Libya
Press Statement
Hillary Rodham ClintonSecretary of State
Washington, DC
October 23, 2011
The United States joins the Libyan people as they celebrate liberation from more than four decades of Qadhafi’s brutal dictatorship. The Libyan revolution was the work of ordinary, brave Libyans who demanded their freedoms and dignity. The United States is proud to have supported them in those efforts and we are committed to their future.
This is a historic moment, but much work remains to be done. The process of forming a new representative government that is accountable to its people must reflect the same spirit of the revolution and the Transitional National Council should work to announce this government as soon as possible. The transitional authorities can build on this movement by promoting reconciliation and respect for human rights across Libyan society, while helping to prevent reprisals and ensuring the justice and due process that the Libyan people expect and deserve.
The path to democracy is a long-term process that requires the participation of all Libyans. Just as the Libyan people led the revolution, they will also lead the process of transition and government formation. The United States remains deeply committed to the Libyan people who can now look forward to a new era of freedom, dignity, and security.

Friday, 21 October 2011

This to announce that The Tanzania , Uganda and Kenya High commissions in London have been nominated to receive awards in the following categories:

• Diaspora growth, development and involvement
• Good customer service at the High commission/embassy
• Positive projection of country’s image abroad
• Economic and Cultural diplomacy
• Country’s Human Development
Other categories to be awarded are:
Diplomat of the year from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific 2011
Diplomat of the Year from the Americas
Deputy Head of mission of the year
Distinguished contribution to diplomacy
The night will recognise and celebrate the diplomatic achievements made within the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions on the 4th November 2011 at the Hilton park lane Hotel
Which category do you think fits your High commission? Please send your entries, comments and nominations to, or
The BEN TV DIPLOMATIC AWARDS will be adding glamour to Africa’s Golden Jubilee celebrations with:
* Top Nollywood stars & the best of African film stars
* UK celebrities and crème de la crème
* Diplomats and professionals

For further information: email,
Ayoub mzee
Public/current Affairs Desk
TEL + 44 7960811614/+442088088800
Africa is truly a great nation with great people. We celebrate Africa at 52. We celebrate you and other great people like you as an inspiration to the next generation of leaders.
BEN TV is a Black and ethnic oriented ,urban , diverse and cosmopolitan Family channel ,established to provide a whole some mix of entertainment ,educative and informational programmes suitable for family viewing .It also includes a range of cultured programming to empower ,transform and challenge the conventional perception of Africa, Caribbean and African Diaspora

Remarks With Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril
Hillary Rodham ClintonSecretary of State
Tripoli, Libya
October 18, 2011
PRIME MINISTER JIBRIL: (Via interpreter) In the name of God, most compassionate, most merciful, it is with great delight that we are honored to meet the U.S. Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton, and the high-level U.S. delegation accompanying her. This is the first visit for Secretary Clinton after the fall of the previous regime. We appreciate it a lot. We appreciate what the U.S. has provided during all this time, during all the time of our blessed revolution of February 17th, where the U.S. has offered also support for advocating for (inaudible).
(Inaudible) discussions today touched on several issues. We discussed the way of forming a high committee for the U.S.-Libyan relationship on a new track that aimed at achieving the interests of both countries. This committee, I hope that it will be announced soon, will contribute to developing the political, economic, social, and cultural relationship between the two countries.
We talked about the possibility to create a common joint scientific authority to discuss the scientific research between the U.S. experts and the Libyan researchers for an alternative economic promising future for Libya.
We also spoke about the immediate help in – for the injured of the Libyans, transferring them from the front, especially from the Sirte front.
We also talked about the issue of chemical material, and we value tremendously what the U.S. has provided in support and technical assistance in this issue.
Also we discussed the issue of the security today in Libya and how we can use the U.S. expertise in this field.
I look very much forward to a closer relationship among our nations and stronger relations from mutual respect on sovereignty and from the mutual respect and mutual common interest for the two countries. I thank Secretary Clinton again, and on behalf of my colleagues, I thank her high-level delegation for this visit that can build for a stronger relationship in the future.
Thank you, Madam Secretary.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Prime Minister Jibril. I want to express my appreciation to you and to Chairman Jalil and to all of the officials with whom we met today. I appreciate greatly the leadership that has been provided over the course of this remarkable year as the Libyan people demonstrated their bravery and determination. And I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya.
And on behalf of the American people I congratulate all Libyans. It is a great privilege to see a new future for Libya being born. And indeed, the work ahead is quite challenging, but the Libyan people have demonstrated the resolve and resilience necessary to achieve their goals.
Think about what has been achieved already. In crowded squares and mountain passes, Libyans stood up against a dictator’s aggression, and claimed the rights and dignity of a free people. Libyans were called rats by their own leaders and they were confronted by every possible tactic to break your spirit. But no threats dimmed the courage of the Libyan people. The United States was proud to stand with you, and we will continue to stand with you as you continue this journey, respecting your sovereignty and honoring our friendship. This is Libya’s moment. This is Libya’s victory and the future belongs to you.
The United States knows something about revolution and liberty. That is how our nation was born more than 230 years ago. And we know that democracy takes time; it will not be easy or quick. But we are filled with admiration for what you have already accomplished and confident in your ability to move forward.
Now, we recognize that the fighting, the bloody fighting, continues. We know that Qadhafi and those close to him are still at large. But the NATO and international coalition that came together on your behalf will continue to protect Libyan civilians until the threat from Qadhafi and those who hang to the past is ended.
In our meetings today, the chairman, prime minister, and their colleagues shared with us their plans for establishing an inclusive democracy in Libya. We agreed that the Libyan people deserve a nation governed by the rule of law, not the whims of men. We believe you deserve a government that represents all Libyans from all parts of the country and all backgrounds, including women and young people. We believe you deserve a transparent and fair judicial system. We also are convinced that revenge and vigilantism have no place in the new Libya.
And we believe you deserve an economy that delivers jobs, dignity, and opportunities to all Libyans – not just to the powerful and connected. We also share your concern about caring for the wounded and the families of the fallen, about securing weapons that may have gone missing, about integrating all the various revolutionary forces into a new and unified Libyan military.
Libya is blessed with wealth and resources, most particularly the human resources of the Libyan people. And there is a pressing need, as I was told today, for international expertise and technical assistance. That is why we welcome the idea of a joint committee between Libya and the United States to look at the priorities that the Libyans themselves have.
I am pleased that we are working together to return billions of dollars of frozen assets and that we have reopened our Embassy. We will stay focused on security: I am pleased to announce that we are going to put even more money into helping Libya secure and destroy dangerous stockpiles of weapons. And the Administration, working with Congress, is going to provide $40 million to support this effort. We will also work with Libya to destroy chemical weapons stocks.
We want to expand our economic cooperation with Libya, to create new educational and cultural exchanges and deepen our engagement with civil society. First, we will launch this new partnership to provide care to your wounded. It deeply moves us that so many people dropped whatever they were doing to fight for their freedom – engineers and teachers, doctors and business leaders, students, and so many others. We plan to evacuate some of the most seriously injured to specialized medical facilities in the United States. We want to help you care for your patients here in Libya, so we will work together to establish a modern medical management system and to provide needed supplies and equipment.
We are also very focused on the young people of Libya who have the most to gain from this new freedom. And today I am pleased to announce we are resuming the Fulbright program and doubling its size to permit even more Libyan students to study and train in my country. We will also open new English language classes across Libya for young people and provide special training for Libyan veterans with disabilities because of their combat experience.
We are increasing grants and training to new civil society organizations and working with Libyan women to make sure they have the skills and opportunities to participate fully in the political and economic life of their countries.
And as with the transitions in Tunisia and Egypt, we will partner with Libya to create new economic opportunities and broader prosperity by boosting trade and investment, increasing tourism, building ties between Libyan and American businesses, and helping to integrate Libya more closely into regional and global markets.
This list is just a beginning, because we want to hear from the Libyan people, from the new government that will be established after Libya is fully liberated. But we think we share a lot of the same aspirations for our families and our countries and that we have a lot to learn from each other and give to each other.
Later, I will be meeting with students and civil and society leaders at Tripoli University, talking and listening to the young people of Libya, because it is to all of them that we dedicate our efforts on your behalf.
So again, prime minister, let me thank you for your warm welcome, and thanks to the people of Libya. And we give you our very best wishes and promise our best efforts as you undertake this journey to a new democracy. (Applause.)
PRIME MINISTER JIBRIL: Thank you, your Excellency.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter.) The first question is for Dr. Jibril. The first question goes to Dr. Jibril.
QUESTION: A question for Dr. Jibril and Secretary Clinton. Secretary Clinton told you, Mr. Jibril, that there is large scale cooperation with Government of Libya. Do you think that you will be the prime minister of that government? Or in the past, you said that you will not share any other transitional government (inaudible).
A question for Secretary Clinton, who was one of the first voice (inaudible) for human rights and liberties. And you were an attorney and a successful lawyer. Today you are as successfully as Secretary of State. My question is: Do you see what is happening to the women in Saudi Arabia and in the eastern region of (inaudible)? Do you think that it is unsuitable to demand Saudi Arabia from bringing freedom just like you are asking Syria to be free, et cetera? And also Yemen – your position from Yemen is not very clear.
PRIME MINISTER JIBRIL: (Via interpreter) I will not be part of the upcoming government. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by saying that I personally and the Government of the United States supports human rights everywhere for everyone. And we advocate that not only to governments but also through civil society and work to try to support the opportunities and aspirations of every individual to live up to his or her God-given potential. So we have spoken out. We will continue to speak out.
But different circumstances demand different kinds of responses, and the opportunity now in Libya is to not only chart a new future for Libyans but to stand as a model for democracy and freedom that was won with the blood of your martyrs is an extraordinary chance that comes perhaps only once in human history. So we think that what Libya has before it, the opportunity to make good on the promise of the revolution, is of the utmost importance, and that is why we are standing ready to work closely with the new Government of Libya and with the people of Libya.
We have and will continue to speak out to our friends, who we believe should do more on behalf of women and women’s rights – and I have said that many times – and with those with whom we have very serious differences, who are preventing the full aspirations and freedom of their people to flourish. But today, I am here to talk about Libya and Libya’s future and the hope that not only the United States but the world has invested in the future that Libyans will make for themselves.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) The question is to Secretary of State Clinton.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, Mister Prime Minister, how concerned are you about the possibility of civil war here, or any lengthy ongoing conflict with pro-Qadhafi forces? And also, could you both comment on what you believe should happen to the convicted Lockerbie bomber? Should he go back to prison?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think, first of all, we are encouraged by the commitment of the Transitional National Council to taking the steps necessary to bring the country together. National unity is one of the highest priorities that Libya faces right now. And we discussed the process of forging a new democratic interim government that is transparent, inclusive, and consultative. And how that is done will, of course, depend upon the decisions that the Libyan people themselves make.
But from long experience, one factor we know must be confronted is unifying the various militias into a single military that represents the Libyan people and government. And the Transitional National Council is very focused on doing just that. They want to get all the militias under national command. They want to prevent reprisals and secure the stocks of weaponry that have come off the battlefield or have been discovered from the previous regime. And we think that the programs that the Transitional National Council have outlined to pay to the families of the fallen martyrs, to prepare programs and treatment and training for those who have served, are exactly what will be needed. Getting a national army and a police force under civilian command is essential. And the United Nations, the United States, and other partners stand ready to do that. But we are still at the point where liberation has not yet been claimed because of the ongoing conflicts that persist, and of course, the continuing freedom of action of Qadhafi and those around him.
So the Transitional National Council has to put security first. There has to be a resolution of the conflict before many of these programs can actually be put into action. And I really believe that all members of all militias must see the benefit of joining the new government, of pledging allegiance, as we say in my country, to the new government.
You know, I come from a very diverse country. We fought a civil war, and it was horrible. It was the war in which more Americans died at each other’s hands than any other, and we lived with the consequences for decades afterwards.
In today’s world, in the 21st century, that will just throw a people further behind history. So I know that the leadership understands that. They are focused on doing everything they can to end the fighting, to declare the liberation of the country, to form a new government, and to begin to pull the entire country together. So we will do everything we can to respond to that.
And we have made, of course, our strong views known about Megrahi, and I have said, many times, that we believe that he should never have been released. I raised this issue again with the leadership here. We – and we recognize the magnitude of all the issues that Libya is facing, but we also know the importance of the rule of law, and they have assured us they understand how strongly the United States feels about this and all the sensitivities around this case. We will continue to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing. This is an open case in the United States Department of Justice, and we will continue to discuss it with our Libyan counterparts.
QUESTION: Does the United States –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Will you talk in the microphone so the press can hear you, sir? Thank you.
QUESTION: You hear me now?
QUESTION: (Inaudible) from Libya Al Hurra TV. Will the United States consider cooperating with the Libyan Islamists on delivering political process for Libya? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: The democracy that takes root in Libya must be reflective of the aspirations of the people of Libya, not the desires or dictates of any outside group. So with respect to Libyans themselves, we will support a process of democratizing that respects the rule of law; that respects the rights of minorities and women and young people; that creates independent institutions, like a free press and an independent judiciary. Groups and individuals who really believe in democracy should be welcome into that process. But groups that want to undermine democracy or subvert it are going to have to be dealt with by the Libyans themselves.
There are people – and I’ve been working in this area for many years, even as a private citizen and as a United States senator. There are many people who say they support elections, but only if they get elected. They want one election, one time, and then if they are elected no more elections. So these are all the kinds of challenges that Libyans will face in putting together their democracy. But people must renounce violence, they must give up arms, they must be committed to a democracy that respects the rights of all. And then, of course, you have an inclusive democracy that includes people, but they must be committed to the goals of a true democracy.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I’d like to take you a bit east of here. Today, Gilad Shalit has returned home after more than five years in captivity, and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have been released as well. I was wondering whether you could give us your reaction to the deal struck between Israel and Hamas and how that fits in, if at all, with your wider efforts to resume peace talks, for example, in the Middle East. And also slightly connected to this, we are hearing reports that the American Israeli citizen, Ilan Grapel, who’s been detained in Egypt on charges of spying, may be released. I was wondering whether you could confirm that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, we are pleased that a long ordeal, being held five years as a hostage, has ended for Gilad Shalit and he’s been released and finally reunited with his family. He was held for far too long in captivity. And we are also hopeful that Ilan Grapel will similarly be released. We see no basis for any legal action against him.
And of course, we are hopeful that there will be a return to negotiations by the Israelis and the Palestinians by the end of this month, as outlined by the Quartet statement.
So we continue to be very focused on working toward a two-state outcome that would give the Palestinian people the same rights that the Libyan people are now obtaining to chart their own destiny and make their own way in life with their own goals and aspirations being fulfilled, and that Israel would have secure borders and could contribute to the prosperity of the larger region. So we remain focused on that and we’ll continue to work toward those outcomes.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) The Libyan woman is absent from the political scene, especially at the ministries, and in the current TNC all the ministers are males. Are you going to offer support so the women can participate in the development of Libya? And also to the election, how do you see the women of Libya in the future?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Prime Minister Jibril is smiling because I have raised it every time I have seen him and every time that I have seen Chairman Jalil and all of the Libyan officials with whom I have met over the last many months.
I would make three points. First, no country can become a democracy, no economy can develop as fully as it could, if half the population is not included. And the women of Libya have the same rights as their brothers and their husbands and their fathers and their sons to help build a new Libya. So we are very committed and very outspoken about what we hope will be the full inclusion of women in a democratic future.
Secondly, women also sacrificed in this revolution. Women were in the streets. Women were supporting the fighters. Women were sending their sons and their husbands off to an uncertain future, and many will never see them again. So women have sacrificed. They may not have been on the front lines holding a weapon, but they were holding together the society and supporting those who were fighting for Libya’s independence. So they have earned the right to be part of Libya’s future.
And finally, there is an opportunity here that I hope Libya will seize. I believe because you have won your freedom – no one handed it to you, you fought for it and you won it – that you will find it in your hearts to demonstrate to the entire world that Libya is not only free, but Libya is equal, Libya believes in the rule of law, Libya will educate all of their boys and girls to take their rightful places in the world. I would hope that I could come back to a free, democratic Libya in a few years, and it would be a shining example of what is possible when free people make their own choices.
So I cannot imagine how that could come to pass if women are not given the right to serve their country, to run their businesses, to be educated to the best of their abilities. So I will certainly look to ways that the United States can support the women in Libya to be able to take their rightful places in this new democratic future.
Thank you.
MODERATOR: (In Arabic.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, my friend.
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