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Niger crisis: Tinubu welcomes Central Africa’s support for ECOWAS

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Niger crisis: ECOWAS Heads say all options still on table

Last Updated on August 16, 2023 by Fellow Press

President Bola Tinubu has praised the solidarity of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on the political impasse in the Republic of Niger.

This is contained in a statement by Mr Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The President spoke when he received the Special Envoy of President Ali Bongo Ondimba and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Gabon, Mr Hermann Immongault, at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday.

The President said the special message of support and solidarity from President Bongo, who doubles as the Chairman of ECCAS, expressed the full support of ECOWAS resolutions on the unconstitutional takeover of government in Niger.

This, according to him, proved once more, that military interference in democratic governance is not acceptable anywhere, and certainly, no longer in the African continent.

“I appreciate the solidarity and support of President Bongo on the situation in Niger. We are working not to compound the problem. We have well-meaning people who have intervened.

“I understand the fear of our people on any form of military action. We are working to keep the sanctions in place, and we are following them to the letter.

“We are happy to know that ECCAS is with us on this. Interference in democratic governance is not acceptable to ECOWAS.”

Tinubu, who is also Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, promised to work with Bongo and the ECCAS to restore constitutional order in Niger.

He reinforced the position of the regional body not to accept any attempt by the military junta in Niger to intimidate and harass President Mohamed Bazoum.

“We will work with ECCAS and keep President Bongo informed on our actions and we will continue to collaborate,” Tinubu assured.

In his remarks, the Special Envoy commended the leadership of ECOWAS and President Tinubu for the steps taken so far to restore democracy in Niger.

He added that Bongo and ECCAS were in full support of all ECOWAS resolutions on the Niger Republic military takeover.

“President Bongo has been following your efforts and those of other ECOWAS leaders on the situation in Niger. President Bongo and ECCAS strongly condemn the coup in Niger.

“He sent me here to tell you that he supports ECOWAS and your leadership in what you are doing to ensure democratic governance is restored in Niger.

“With Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the refugee situation in Chad, whatever happens in West Africa affects Central Africa.

“My President joins efforts with you and ECOWAS to find a solution to the crisis in ECOWAS,” he said.

The Special Envoy said he would communicate the firm solidarity between ECCAS and ECOWAS to the military authorities in Niger as they meet in the coming days.

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Emmanuel Macron announces dissolution of National Assembly

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Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the dissolution of the National Assembly, following defeat of his party in 2024 European Parliament (EP) elections, according to local media report.

“I have decided to give you back the choice of your parliamentary future through the vote. I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly,” Macron said in a short speech.

“This is a serious, weighty decision. But it is above all an act of trust,” he added.

He added that the elections to the National Assembly are to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.
Macron’s Renaissance party gained 15.2 per cent of the votes in 2024 European Parliament elections, far behind far-right National Rally who received 31.8 per cent.

“The unprecedented gap between the presidential majority and the leading opposition party reflects a stinging disavowal and rejection of the policies led by Emmanuel Macron,” RN President Jordan Bardella said after the EP elections results were unveiled, quoted by local media.

“We’re ready for it. I call on French people to join us in forming around the RN a majority in the service of the only cause that guides our steps: France.” parliamentary party leader of RN, Marine Le Pen, said Sunday evening on social media platform X.

The EP elections were held from June 6 to June 9, with voters of the 27 EU member states selecting 720 lawmakers to the 10th EP.

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UN adds Israel to blacklist

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Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has added Israel’s military to a global list of offenders that have committed violations against children, his spokesman confirmed on Friday.

Israel had been told it is being placed on the list in the secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict, to be sent to the UN Security Council next Friday, Stephane Dujarric told a press briefing.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were also added to the list, according to a diplomatic source, along with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Dujarric added that the Israeli UN mission was called by Guterres’ chief of staff on Friday, a courtesy afforded to countries that are newly listed. “It is done to give those countries a heads-up and avoid leaks,” he said.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan recorded a video of himself making a phone call from his office, apparently to a UN official, and leaked part of it on social media.

In the video, Erdan expressed outrage at the UN decision, calling the IDF “the most moral army in the world.”

“The only one who is blacklisted today is the secretary-general, whose decisions since the war started, and even before, are rewarding terrorists and incentivizing them to use children for terror acts… Shame on him!”

Dujarric said it was “shocking and unacceptable” that Erdan had apparently published the private call, saying it was “something he had never seen in my 24 years serving this organization.”

Israel’s inclusion on the list comes after eight months of war in Gaza, in which more than 15,500 children have been killed, according to the Ministry of Health in the enclave.

The war was sparked by a Hamas-led assault on Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage. Many are still in captivity and Hamas’ top leadership is still at large despite the Israeli onslaught.

The UN’s so-called blacklist has previously included countries such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, said the decision to add Israel to the list “will not bring back tens of thousands of our children who were killed by Israel over decades and will not restore normal life for the children who were permanently disabled by its actions.”

“But it is an important step in the right direction towards ending the double standards and the culture of impunity Israel has enjoyed for far too long and that left our children vulnerable to its consequences.”

The annual report will go to the Security Council on June 14. The official report will be published on June 18. It will be discussed at a debate in the council on June 26.

Asked about ramifications, the UN spokesman said it will be up to the members to decide any action.

The war has seen Israel-UN relations reach historic lows with Israeli diplomats using their platforms at the UN to denounce the world body.

Israel’s quarrel with the UN has gone beyond the secretary-general. Israeli officials have also criticized the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the World Health Organization, UN Women, and the UN’s Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese.

Meanwhile, dozens of UN staffers have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began, the largest loss in the world body’s history.

Israel has long accused UNRWA of anti-Israeli incitement, which UNRWA has repeatedly denied, and in 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to dismantle the UN body, saying it should be merged with the main UN refugee agency.

Since the October 7 attack, Israeli journalists and news outlets have refocused their attention on UNRWA and have amplified stories questioning its role in the war.

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