United Nations, Sep 26 (AP/UNB) -President Joseph Kabila of Congo is stressing that holding elections on Dec. 23 is "irreversible" and denouncing any interference in the electoral process from foreign governments.
Kabila became Congo's leader in 2001 after the assassination of his father and by law could not run again after his mandate ended in December 2016. But he has remained in office because of delays in holding elections, which sparked deadly protests.
He told the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that "everything will be implemented to guarantee the peaceful and credible nature of these elections "
Kabila warned that the United Nations will not be "an organization for all if the intrusive interference of some governments in matters undoubtedly in the domestic policy of the states" continues. He did not name any countries.
He also called for an "effective and substantial" start to the withdrawal of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo.
Germany and Saudi Arabia have agreed to patch up their strained diplomatic ties, after Berlin's top diplomat expressed regret for recent "misunderstandings" that angered the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia pulled its ambassador from Germany last year after then German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel suggested Riyadh was engaging in "political adventurism" in the Middle East.
Current Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters Tuesday that "our relations have witnessed misunderstandings which stands in sharp contrast to our otherwise strong and strategic ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We sincerely regret this."
Speaking after the two met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir responded by inviting Maas to visit the kingdom "at the earliest opportunity so that we may begin a new phase of close cooperation."
Smirks and smiles, but no signs of shock: German diplomats appeared bemused by President Donald Trump's latest swipe at their country.
In a wide-ranging speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, Trump took time to reiterate his criticism of Germany's planned undersea gas pipeline from Russia.
After the U.S. president's warning that "Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course," cameras showed German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas gently shaking his head, while senior diplomats smiled.
Nairobi, Sep 22 (AP/UNB) — A survivor has been found inside a capsized Tanzanian ferry two days after the disaster on Lake Victoria, an official said Saturday, while coffins arrived for at least 167 victims and counting.
An engineer was found near the engine of the upturned vessel, Mwanza regional commissioner John Mongella told reporters. The Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation reported he had shut himself into the engine room. His condition was not immediately clear.
Search efforts continued around the ferry's exposed underside as families of victims prepared to claim the dead. No one knows how many people were on board the ferry, which had a capacity of 101. Officials on Friday said at least 40 people had been rescued.
The government's Chief Secretary John Kijazi announced the rising death toll to reporters after President John Magufuli ordered the arrests of those responsible.
"This is a great disaster for our nation," Magufuli said, announcing four days of national mourning.
The badly overloaded ferry capsized in the final stretch before shore on Thursday afternoon as people returning from a busy market day shifted and prepared to disembark. Horrified fishermen and other witnesses have expressed fear that more than 200 could have died.
Pope Francis, the United Nations secretary-general, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of African leaders have expressed shock and sorrow.
The MV Nyerere, named for the former president who led the East African nation to independence, was traveling between the islands of Ukara and Ukerewe when it sank, according to the government agency in charge of servicing the vessels.
Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where aging passenger ferries often carry hundreds of passengers and well beyond capacity.
In 1996, more than 800 people died when passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.
Nearly 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.
Kinshasa, Sep 22 (AP/UNB) — A Congolese woman who refused an Ebola vaccination and then disappeared has died of the virus near the heavily traveled border with Uganda, which is preparing to begin vaccinations as needed.
The confirmed Ebola death announced by local authorities highlights the challenges health workers are facing in a region of northeastern Congo that had never experienced an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever before. Authorities have fought rumors and trained community members including traditional healers in efforts to calm and educate nervous residents.
The 32-year-old woman had assisted in the burials of other Ebola victims and health workers had followed her as a possible case, but she refused a vaccination and disappeared from the city of Beni, said the vice governor of Ituri Province, Pacifique Keta.
She died on Thursday at a hospital in Tshomia, on Lake Albert.
It is the closest a confirmed Ebola death in the current outbreak has been to Uganda, which has said it was making arrangements with the World Health Organization to vaccinate health workers and other high-risk populations as needed. Three thousand vaccine doses will be imported.
Congo's health ministry said that as of Friday there have been 116 confirmed cases, including 68 deaths, of Ebola in the outbreak that was declared on Aug. 1. More than 10,000 people have been vaccinated.
Ebola monitoring has been taking place at the border and Uganda is considered what WHO calls "very high risk."
"To date, health workers in Uganda have responded to over 100 Ebola alerts that have been found to be negative for the Ebola virus," WHO's country office there has said.
The U.N. health agency has not recommended travel restrictions.
Accra, Sep 11 (AP/UNB) — The body of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has received a hero's welcome upon landing at Kotoka International Airport in Ghana's capital.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was with Annan's widow and family members Monday as uniformed soldiers brought Annan's coffin down from the aircraft amid solemn music played by a detachment of Ghana's armed forces. Prayers followed.
To signify Annan's return home, the U.N. flag covering the coffin was replaced by a Ghanaian one.
Annan will lie at the Accra International Conference Center, where people can pay their respects in the days before Thursday's state funeral.
Annan died in August in Switzerland at age 80.
The grandson of tribal chiefs, he was the first black African to work as U.N. secretary-general, and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
Warri, Sep 11 (AP/UNB) — A gas depot exploded in central Nigeria, killing 18 people and leaving some burned beyond recognition, a witness said Monday.
More than 40 other people had burns after the blast in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa state, taxi driver Yakubu Charles told The Associated Press. He said he helped to evacuate victims after more than a dozen occupied vehicles were set on fire. Victims had to be taken to hospitals on motorbikes as no ambulances were available, he said.
Both the Nigeria Police Force and Federal Road Safety Corps confirmed the blast but declined to give a number of casualties.
Nigeria's Senate president, Bukola Saraki, in a Twitter post called the explosion "horrific" and said he met with survivors. He offered prayers for families who lost relatives.
Many gas dealers operate mini-depots in Nigerian cities with no strong measures to regulate their activities, leading to frequent explosions. In January, 10 people died in a blast in Magodo in Lagos state.