Isnin, 7 Mac 2011

The Malaysian Insider :: World

The Malaysian Insider :: World

EU may offer incentives for North Africa reform

Posted: 07 Mar 2011 07:13 PM PST

LONDON, March 8 — The European Union may offer financial and regulatory incentives to North African countries to encourage them to make democratic reforms, the Financial Times said today.

Citing a draft that it said it had obtained, the newspaper said the move was part of a plan being prepared for an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, and included additional development aid, loosening immigration restrictions, and lowering trade barriers.

At the summit on North Africa, leaders will discuss the EU's humanitarian and political response to events in the region, particularly Libya where fighting has broken out between government forces and rebels trying to seize control from Muammar Gaddafi.

"Those that go faster and faster with reforms will be able to count on greater support from the EU," the newspaper quoted the 16-page blueprint as saying.

While it did not specify how the EU would measure democratic progress, the draft said "support may be re-allocated or refocused for those who stall or retrench on agreed reform plans", according to the FT.

Officials were expected to expand the list of Libyan financial entities under sanctions, including its sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Central Bank, the newspaper said.

The EU has already imposed a range of sanctions on individual Libyans, including Gaddafi and his immediate family, as well as an arms embargo, travel bans and a ban on exports of equipment such as riot gear and teargas that could be used by Libyan security forces against protesters.

On Sunday it sent a mission to Tripoli to report back on humanitarian and evacuation needs. — Reuters


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Colombian gunmen kidnap 23 oil exploration workers

Posted: 07 Mar 2011 07:07 PM PST

BOGOTA, March 8 — Colombian gunmen have kidnapped 23 local oil contractors carrying out exploration work in a remote jungle area for Canada's Talisman Energy Inc, a provincial governor said yesterday.

Vichada Governor Juan Carlos Avila told Caracol Radio that gunmen forced the workers out of the camp from which they were conducting contract work for Talisman, which is a partner of state oil company Ecopetrol.

"They forced them into the jungles," Avila said, adding that all those kidnapped were Colombian nationals.

A spokeswoman for Talisman could not immediately comment on the incident.

Guerrillas from the FARC rebel group and illegal cocaine trafficking gangs operate in Vichada province in the oil-rich flatlands of eastern Colombia.

Kidnappings have become rarer in Colombia as security has improved, but the large-scale hostage-taking yesterday shows the risks still facing the oil and mining companies working in rural parts of the Andean country where state presence is weak. — Reuters


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