Former Egyptian PM Sherif Ismail Died At 67

CAIRO– Fomer Egyptian Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, died yesterday, at the age of 67.

Ismail had a disease in the digestive system, according to earlier official media reports.

Ismail served as the country’s prime minister between 2015 and 2018. He was minister of petroleum and mineral resources, from 2013 to 2015.

His death was mourned by Eyptian President, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, and other Egyptian officials.

“He was truly a great man, who undertook responsibility at one of the most difficult times and conditions, and he was up to it,” a statement released by the presidency quoted Sisi as saying.

“I have known him as a selfless, dedicated, trustworthy and giving person, upholding his country’s and people’s interests above personal gains,” the Egyptian president added, expressing “deep sorrow” for Ismail’s passing.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

UN Environment Programme Senior Official Sonja Leighton to Visit Zimbabwe

Harare – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Acting Deputy Executive Director, and Director of Corporate Services Ms. Sonja Leighton-Kone will visit Zimbabwe from 06 to 11 February 2023.

During her visit, Ms. Leighton-Kone will meet with His Excellency President E.D. Mnangagwa; and other senior Government officials including Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Minister of Energy and Power Development; and Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development. In addition, Ms. Leighton-Kone will be meeting with the UN Resident ad Humanitarian Coordinator Mr Edward Kallon and the UN Country Team.

During her visit Ms Leighton will engage senior Government officials on environmental opportunities and challenges especially issues linked to triple planetary crisis of climate change, loss of nature and biodiversity, and waste and pollution. Her discussions with Government will include on strengthening collaboration with UNEP and marshalling practical solutions to the triple planetary crisis supported by UNEP as part the 2022-2026 Zimbabwe UN Sustainable Development Cooperation.

Ms Leighton will also have consultations with the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Heads of UN agencies in Zimbabwe and the UN Country Team on enhancing coordination and cooperation in the delivery of support to the country.

Facilitated by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Ms Leighton will also travel to the field to see projects on environmental sustainability.

Ms. Leighton-Kone will be accompanied by Frank Turyatunga, Regional Director, and Representative for Africa; Ms. Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun, Head, UNEP Southern Africa Sub-Regional Office; and Rami Abdel Malik, Special Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director.

Ms. Leighton’s brief bio is available on: https://www.unep.org/people/sonja-leighton-kone.

Source: UN Environment Programme

POPE URGES END TO ETHNIC HATRED AT OPEN-AIR MASS IN SOUTH SUDAN

Pope Francis appealed Sunday to the people of South Sudan to lay down their “weapons of hatred” at an open-air mass on the final day of his pilgrimage to a country blighted by violence and poverty.

Large crowds of ecstatic worshippers streamed into the John Garang Mausoleum in the capital Juba to see the 86-year-old pontiff, who has made peace and reconciliation the theme of his three-day trip to the world’s newest nation.

“Let us lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge… Let us overcome the dislikes and aversions that over time have become chronic and risk pitting tribes and ethnic groups against one another,” Francis said in his homily.

He voiced hope that the people of South Sudan, a country that has been at war for about half its young life, would “build a reconciled future”.

People waved national flags and sang “Welcome holy father to South Sudan” as the Argentine pontiff moved through the crowds in his popemobile before delivering the mass to an audience local authorities put at around 70,000.

Francis later flew out of Juba for Rome. He is due to hold a press conference on board his plane along with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, who joined him on the trip.

It was his first papal visit to the largely Christian country since it achieved independence from mainly Muslim Sudan in 2011 after a long and bloody civil war.

Despite the initial revelry in 2011, South Sudan was at war with itself just two years later in a conflict that killed nearly 400,000 people and displaced four million.

A peace deal was signed in 2018 between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar but many of its conditions remain unmet and violence continues to roil the country.

The wheelchair-bound pontiff, who himself tried to broker peace during the civil war, received a rapturous welcome throughout his visit.

“I came to see the pope bring change to the country. For many years we’ve been at war, but we need peace. We want the pope to pray for us,” said James Agiu, 24.

He was among the many who stayed overnight to join the mass at the John Garang mausoleum — built in honour of South Sudan’s rebel hero who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2005.

On Saturday, Francis met victims of the civil war, who were brought to Juba from various camps, and urged the government to resume the peace process and restore “dignity” to those affected by conflict.

With 2.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs), and another two million outside the country, South Sudan is witness to the worst refugee crisis in Africa.

“I have been suffering in my life. That is why I’m here, so the pope can bless me and my family,” 32-year-old Josephine James told AFP at Sunday’s mass.

“Ever since he arrived, people have been happy. I am very happy.”

The papal visit has been closely followed in the devoutly Christian country of 12 million people, where church leaders played a key role in protecting civilians during times of conflict.

Source: National News Agency