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Top U.S. diplomat meets leaders of Niger military junta



Victoria Nuland

Senior U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland has met with senior leaders of the military junta in Niger, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

Nuland, the acting deputy secretary of state, travelled to Niamey to meet with the armed forces’ new chief of staff, General Moussa Salaou Barmou, and three other members of the military junta.

She expressed Washington’s “grave concern regarding developments in Niger and our resolute commitment to supporting democracy and constitutional order,” U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

During the meeting Nuland outlined what was at stake if Niger did not “respect its own constitutional order,” Miller said.

“This includes the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and security support for the people of Niger,” she highlighted.

She described the more-than-two-hour conversation as “extremely frank and at times quite difficult” in a call with reporters.

Nuland’s request to meet with ousted and detained President Mohamed Bazoum was denied, she said.

“The United States continues to call for the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and all those detained as part of the extra-constitutional attempt to seize power,” Miller said.

Nuland was also not able to see new self-declared ruler Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani.

Bazoum was ousted in a military coup on July 26.

Tchiani, the commander of Niger’s presidential guard, then claimed power as the country’s new ruler.

He and his group of officers suspended the constitution and dissolved all constitutional institutions.


IMF/World Bank meetings to hold in Marrakech despite devastating Moroccan earthquake



IMF/World Bank

The managements of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), together with Moroccan authorities have agreed to hold their 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech despite recent devastating earthquake in the country.

This is contained in a joint statement signed by World Bank President, Ajay Banga; IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva; and Kingdom of Morocco Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah Alaoui.

They however said that the meetings, scheduled between Oct. 9 and Oct. 15, would hold by “adapting the content to the circumstances”.

“Since the devastating earthquake in Morocco on Sept. 8, the World Bank and the IMF staff have worked in close coordination with the Moroccan authorities and a team of experts to thoroughly assess Marrakech’s capacity to host the 2023 Annual Meetings.

“In undertaking this assessment, key considerations were that the meetings would not disrupt vital relief and reconstruction efforts, and that the safety of the participants can be assured.

“Based on a careful review of the findings, the Managements of the World Bank and IMF, together with the Moroccan authorities, have agreed to proceed with holding the 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech from October 9 to 15,” they said.

According to them, the meetings would be conducted in a way that does not hamper the relief efforts, and respects the victims and Moroccan people.

“At this very difficult time, we believe that the annual meetings also provide an opportunity for the international community to stand by Morocco and its people, who have once again shown resilience in the face of tragedy.

“We also remain committed to ensuring the safety of all participants,” they said.

The World Bank plays a key role in the global efforts to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

Working in more than 100 countries, the bank provides financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development.

The IMF is a global organisation that works to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for all of its 190 member countries.

It does so by supporting economic policies that promote financial stability and monetary cooperation, which are essential to increasing productivity, job creation, and economic well-being.

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Zelensky among leaders arriving in New York for high-level UN summit



Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is among the world leaders descending on New York on Monday as the United Nations prepares to kick off a high-level summit.

The summit is aimed at rescuing its largely ignored Sustainable Development Goals for economic growth.

The UN General Assembly in New York, would formally start on Tuesday and will last a week.

It is set to focus on dusting off its 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at avoiding poverty, hunger, poor education and poor health care, among other things.

In 2015, the countries of the world set themselves these central goals for global development with the key aim of ending hunger and extreme poverty by 2030.

However, the pandemic, the Ukraine war and a debt crisis in poor countries are among the setbacks that have left the UN well off its target.

According to the UN, if things continue as they are, 575 million people will still be living in great poverty and more than 600 million in hunger in 2030.

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