zoom It is unacceptable to hit European businesses with the new so-called congestion surcharges, the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) says in a statement.Seeing no reason to impose these congestion surcharges, the ESC urges ship owners to minimize surcharges and bring all costs into a single negotiable freight rate wherever possible.For some time now businesses have been faced with the introduction of congestion surcharges in several parts of the world, among them Oman, the Philippines, India, the United States, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.According to the operators this mechanism is necessary due to the new organization of the shipowners through Vesel Sharing Alliances (VSA), slot exchanges and other means of rationalization.According to the ESC, these new forms of organization have been introduced as a way to improve the service quality offered to customers, not to increase revenues by creating new surcharges.The ESC wants ship owners to limit the impact of these new organization models by solving problems rather than impose surcharges to shippers.Press Release
The meeting, held in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Saturday, addressed the current situation with respect to the so-called Doha peace process, which is hosted by the Government of Qatar, and the prevailing security situation on the ground.Chaired by Thabo Mbeki, former South African president and chair of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan (AUHIP), the talks also focused on how best to proceed on expediting the all-inclusive Darfur Political Process leading to the Darfur-Darfur Conference.“The parties agreed that in order to quickly resolve the Darfur conflict, it is necessary to initiate an immediate, concurrent and complementary Darfur Political Process on the ground,” according to a note issued by the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).The process will be led by the AUHIP and UNAMID, which convened the meeting along with the Governments of Sudan and the United States.Senior UN officials have been urging all the parties to enter into negotiations in good faith without delay, stressing that only a comprehensive and inclusive negotiated political settlement can bring about a credible cessation of hostilities and address the root causes of conflict in Darfur.An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million forced from their homes since violence erupted in the Sudanese region in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and their allied Janjaweed militiamen. 17 January 2011Participants at a United Nations-backed meeting on Darfur have called on all rebel groups to re-engage with the peace process to facilitate a speedy conclusion of the negotiations aimed at bringing peace to the strife-torn Sudanese region.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER David Cameron said today he was “appalled” by the “barbaric” death sentence given to a Sudanese Christian woman for refusing to recant her religion.Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 27, was condemned on May 15 under Islamic sharia law, which outlaws conversions on pain of death. She was pregnant at the time but gave birth this week in prison.“I am absolutely appalled by the decision to sentence Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag to death,” Cameron said in a statement today.“The way she is being treated is barbaric and has no place in today’s world. Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental human right,” the Conservative leader said.“I urge the government of Sudan to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and medical care for her and her children.The UK will continue to press the government of Sudan to act.”The Christian Sudanese woman, who was sentenced to hang, was incarcerated with her 20-month-old toddler according to rights activists, and gave birth this week to another baby in jail.She should be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before any death sentence is carried out, legal experts have said.Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, and Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband have also condemned the case as “abhorrent”.Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who heads a faith foundation, said justifying Ishag’s treatment in the name of religion was “a brutal and sickening distortion of faith and we must unite in calling for her release.“We must fight to protect freedom of belief, strive to allow people to worship the god they want or to worship none,” he said, according to The Times newspaper.Meanwhile former defence secretary Liam Fox said Britain should reconsider whether it was acceptable to give aid money to countries which allow such treatment.- © AFP 2014.Related: ‘Appalling and abhorrent’: Pregnant woman sentenced to flogging and hanging in Sudan>Read: Pregnant teenager receives jail term after being gang-raped>