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Buhari calls on international community to support peaceful transition in Chad

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President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the international community to support Chad to conclude the transition from military to democratic government in a peaceful manner within the set time of 18 months.

President Buhari spoke at the opening of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit was convened to discuss the recent developments in Chad after President Idris Deby Itno died on the frontline while defending the territorial integrity of his country.

The Nigerian leader, who declared the one-day summit open in his capacity as the Chair of leaders of LCBC member-countries, rallied development partners and countries particularly France, the United States, and the United Kingdom to support the transition regime in Chad.

He also urged Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia; the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, as well as other friendly and partner nations to support the transition framework put in place by Chad’s Transition Military Council led by General Mahamat Idris Deby.

‘‘The need to support the Chadian government to effectively carry out its planned 18-month transition is sacrosanct.

‘‘However, it must be stated that the sanctity of the Chadian constitution as the supreme guiding document defining the social contract in the country must be respected.

‘‘The transition period should be civilian-led, with requisite powers given to the constitutionally mandated organs of government saddled with the responsibility of administering the country,’’ he said.

At the in-person meeting attended by the Presidents of Central African Republic, Niger, Chad, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and a representative of the President of Cameroon,

Buhari noted that the death of President Deby Itno had direct implications for the continued peace and stability of Chad as a nation, the Lake Chad region and the wider Sahel Region.

‘‘Our region is faced with difficult, several challenges that need the support and engagement of all to overcome.

‘‘While transnational crimes and rebellion cutting across our region continue to evolve in scope, the attendant conflicts also continue to retain their distinct form of inflicting untold hardship and difficulty on the lives of our citizens.

‘‘The threats by the Chadian rebel groups, who are clamouring to overthrow the government, must be viewed with all the seriousness they deserve because the consequences of a destabilized Chad to the sub-region cannot be imagined.

‘‘The flow of refugees and displaced persons from the country, unrestrained flow of arms, drugs and other harmful substances into Lake Chad and Sahel Regions, which are already challenged by terrorists seeking to establish parallel systems, would further compound the security and stability of our areas and neighbouring countries.

‘‘It is, therefore, our collective duty and in honour of the memory of the men and women that have died in search of peace in the region, to rise in unison as leaders of the region to ensure that peace, stability and security are not disrupted in Chad and in the entire region.

‘‘These challenges, which are fuelled by an interplay of poverty and the loss of sustainable means of livelihood due to climate change, have been further exacerbated by the direct consequence of complete breakdown of law and order in Libya.

‘‘The Libyan conflict has increased fragility in our region with debilitating security implications across the Lake Chad and the larger Sahel Region,” he said.

According to him, this is also typified by increased circulation of illicit arms and ammunition, narcotic substances as well as a refugee crisis that continues to threaten the security of the region.

While urging fellow leaders not to relent in their efforts and allow the enemies of the region to succeed in their quest to destabilize the area, the Nigerian leader said:

‘‘We must reinvigorate our collective will and commitment towards eradicating terrorism and entrenching democratic rule and good governance in Chad and in our region.

‘‘We must remain focused and true to ensuring sustainable development of the region.’’

Buhari also commended the untiring efforts of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Multinational Joint Task Force, member countries’ National Armed Forces and Security and Intelligence Agencies ‘‘who daily strive to ensure the complete restoration of peace and stability in the region.’’

He pledged that officers, some of whom had paid the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty for the survival of the region, would never be forgotten.

‘‘We are committed to ensuring that the ideals of restoring peace, stability and viability of the Lake Chad Region to its glorious state to which some of you have paid the ultimate price, is achieved,’’ he declared.

NAN reports that on the request of President Buhari and in recognition of the immense and sterling contributions of the late President of Chad to peace and stability in the region, the Summit observed a minute silence for the departed leader.

While eulogising the Marshal of Chad, Buhari described the late president as a committed African leader and statesman.

He said late Deby stood for peace and stability of the Lake Chad Region, the Sahel and the African continent in general.

‘‘His passion, commitment and zeal to the cause of the Lake Chad and African unity would be greatly missed,’’ he said. (NAN)

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Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi is dead

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Late Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi
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Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi has died after his helicopter crashed amid heavy fog in northern Iran, state media reported. Raisi was 63.

Rescuers on Monday found the chopper that was carrying the Iranian president, as well as the country’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other senior officials, after it crashed in the mountainous northwest reaches of Iran.

The crash comes as the Middle East remains unsettled by the Israel-Hamas war, during which Raisi, under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel just last month.

Under Raisi, Iran enriched uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels, further escalating tensions with the West as Tehran also supplied bomb-carrying drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine and continued arming proxy groups in the Mideast such as Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Raisi was a prominent figure in Iranian politics, known for his alignment with conservative and hardline factions. He had been serving as president for nearly three years and was widely expected to run for re-election next year.

Born in Mashhad, a significant religious center for Shia Muslims in northeastern Iran, Raisi’s journey into politics was deeply rooted in his religious education.

He studied at the renowned seminary in Qom, under the guidance of prominent scholars, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader of Iran.

His black turban, a symbol that he was a sayyid, or a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, held special significance among Twelver Shia Muslims, further cementing his religious and political stature.

Raisi’s career as a prosecutor began in various jurisdictions before he moved to Tehran in 1985. There, he became a part of a controversial committee of judges responsible for the execution of political prisoners, a role that drew significant criticism from human rights organizations.

Raisi’s untimely death leaves a significant void in Iran’s political landscape. As the nation mourns, questions about his potential successor and the future direction of Iranian politics loom large.

 

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Nigeria’s Senate President Akpabio seeks IPU’s voice in ending conflict in Gaza

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President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio
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The President of Nigeria’s Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has called on the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) to lend a strong voice to the restoration of lasting peace in war-torn Gaza.

Akpabio made the call while contributing to discussions at the ongoing 148th Session of the International Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said it is time for nations to rise above sentiments and invoke the spirit of humanity, by doing all they can to bring sustainable peace to the region.

Some of the resolutions, according to the Chairman of Nigeria’s National Assembly, should include access to humanitarian aid, the restoration of normal life in Gaza, and meetings on a permanent truce.

His words: ” Madam President, this is a lone voice from Nigeria. We tried our best in Angola, and we failed to lend a collective voice to what is happening in Gaza. Today, the world is very expectant.

“We must drop ego. It has nothing to do with which country brings the proposal. The basic tenets of humanity demand that we leave here with a resolution for the rest of the world, to show that we have human feelings in us.

“The issues are very clear. If you notice the proposal for 12 blocs; they attempted to even marry the proposals from South Africa. Yes! South Africa has a right to be emotional, but we have children who are dying even as we are talking now. We have people who do not have water to drink, even as we are talking now. We have people who are going to suffer infections from gunshots.

“We have to show the world that we are human beings. The cessation of hostilities must be a part of our resolutions. Access to humanitarian aid must be a part of our resolutions.

‘At the same time, the release of hostages and even those who are prisoners of war, because if both sides take steps in releasing the hostages, releasing the prisoners of war, it means that both sides have agreed that the international community can go to the next stage, which is negotiation for sustainable peace.

“If they cannot agree, I would urge that, from here, we have a three-man drafting committee to come up with those resolutions which we must make before we leave here.

‘We can no longer allow a child to die tonight without lending our voice. It doesn’t matter which side. We are all parents. If we come here to look for ego and then try to be emotional, it’s not affecting them.

“There’s nothing affecting Denmark; there’s nothing affecting South Africa. The people affected are over there and nobody will agree to the lone resolution from Israel. It must be all-encompassing so that we stand up from here as human beings. That would be my plea.

“Let them go aside, meet and remove those vexatious items. In the course of their discussions, we can have amendments. We can add items that we should add, but we must discuss the Gaza issue in this 148th IPU Assembly. That is my position.”

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Okonjo-Iweala ‘Less Optimistic’ About World Trade In 2024

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Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
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The World Trade Organization’s chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday said she was “less optimistic” about world trade in 2024, pointing to tensions in the Red Sea.She said weaker global economic growth, “worsening geopolitical tensions, the new disruptions we see in the Red Sea, on the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal” meant “we are less optimistic”.

Okonjo-Iweala was speaking to journalists at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos where political and economic elites are meeting to discuss global challenges.

Before the massive Hamas attack on Israel in October and the subsequent outbreak of war in Gaza, the WTO had predicted trade would grow by 0.8 per cent in 2023 and projected growth of 3.3 per cent this year.

But Okonjo-Iweala warned the figure for 2024 would now be lower in future forecasts.

“We think there are a lot of downside risks to the forecasts we had made last year of 3.3 percent of growth of merchandise volumes this year. So we expect weaker performance,” she said.

“We will be revising estimates for this year, but they won’t be ready for another month or so,” Okonjo-Iweala added.

A spate of attacks by Yemeni rebels on Red Sea shipping has disrupted the vital trade route while the worst drought in decades to hit the Panama Canal has forced authorities to slow transits.

Yemen’s Huthi rebels say their strikes are in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

The attacks have, however, also caused shipping companies to avoid the Suez Canal.

The Hamas attack on October 7 resulted in the death of around 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

More than 24,400 Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and ground offensive since October 7, according to the Hamas government’s Ministry of Health.

 

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