China and India on Wednesday started the 14th round of corps commander-level negotiations to resolve the 20-month border conflict in the Ladakh region.
Regional media reported that the previous round of talks took place in October 2021 and did not bring any results.
The Indian defence ministry said Chinese negotiators rejected its call for restoring peace in the area of the de facto border, referred to as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Asian News International reported that the 14th negotiation took place at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point on the LAC’s Chinese side.
Shortly before the negotiation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the situation at the border was generally stable, and the parties were maintaining dialogue through diplomatic and military channels.
The lack of a marked border between India and China has long been a source of tensions between the countries. Tensions escalated in May 2020 as clashes between border forces led to multiple fatalities.
To settle the conflict, the two nations launched disengagement consultations in June 2020, with the first phase of disengagement on the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake completed last February.
The situation once again escalated in September 2021, prompting both countries to resume troop deployment near the LAC. Since then, China has repeatedly accused India of provocations, which it dismissed as groundless.
UN welcomes suspension of Burkina Faso from ECOWAS
United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has welcomed the suspension of Burkina Faso from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) over this week’s military coup.
Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson to Mr Guterres, said this while briefing correspondents on Friday at UN headquarters on the situation in the country.
Haq said Mr Guterres also welcomed the decision of ECOWAS to deploy a mission of the regional Chiefs of Defence staff to the country on Saturday, to then be followed by a ministerial delegation next week.
According to Mr Haq, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, will travel to Burkina Faso over the weekend on a good offices mission.
“Annadif will also join the Ministerial mission along with the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the Foreign Minister of Ghana.
“This will take place ahead of a planned ECOWAS Summit in Accra on Feb. 3 to further discuss the situation in the country.
“The secretary-general continues to call for calm, the release of President Roch Marc Kaboré and other officials that have been detained as well as for a return to constitutional order in Burkina Faso,” said the spokesperson.
He added that Mr Annadif took part in the special virtual summit on Burkina Faso, organised by ECOWAS, on Friday.
In a Tweet, Mr Annadif said in his remarks at the summit, that he had reiterated the UN’s condemnation of unconstitutional changes of power and called for a swift and unconditional return to constitutional order in Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso’s new military leader, Paul-Henri Damiba, said the West African country would return to democratic rule when the conditions were right.
Mr Damiba spoke for the first time on national television since leading a mutiny that ousted President Kabore on Monday.
“When the conditions are right, according to the deadline that our people will define in all sovereignty, I commit to a return to a normal constitutional order,” Mr Damiba said.
The junta said on Monday after seizing power that it would propose a calendar for a return to constitutional order “within a reasonable time frame” but has not elaborated on its plans.
The officers, who call themselves the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), launched a mutiny on Sunday night, and removed Mr Kabore on Monday, blaming him for failing to contain worsening violence by Islamist militants.
NEMA distributes relief materials to 350 Lagosians affected by 2021 flood
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Friday distributed relief materials to 350 flood victims in Ikorodu and Kosofe areas of Lagos.
Ibrahim Farinloye, South-West Zonal Coordinator, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Mr Farinloye said the relief items were distributed and monitored by NEMA and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).
He said that this was the first phase of the federal Glgovernment intervention to those affected by the 2021 flood in Kosofe and Ikorodu areas of Lagos.
Mr Farinloye added that the agency had close to 400 flood victims from Ikorodu and Kosofe areas that would benefit from the federal government support.
“We are visiting the flood victims in all the 67 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Area (LCDAs) in Lagos.
“We are distributing beverages, building materials, foodstuffs, mosquito nets and other household items to the flood victims.
“There are lots of water around Owode-Onirin and Ikorodu axis, which makes some of their property to be under water.
“In 2021, we created the Disaster Risk Reduction Management, ahead of the rainy period to reduce flood victims across the country,” Mr Farinloye said.
He said that before the introduction of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management, flood usually disturbs riverine residents between three to four months. He said it took two to three weeks for riverine residents to experience flood in 2021.
He urged Nigerians to always listen to both government and stakeholders’ engagement workshops and relocate from their environment during the rainy season.
Mr Farinloye said the agency had estimated over one million flood victims between Ikorodu and Kosofe areas in 2021.
He added that they had lesser victims due to the measures being taken on time.
Mr Farinloye said that the management of NEMA had already cautioned Nigerians to imbibe disaster risk protection to reduce flood victims on yearly basis.
He, however, advised Nigerians who reside around riverine areas to imbibe Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy to reduce the number of victims in the country.
Customs intercepts 11.91kg of cocaine valued at N3.9 billion
The Nigeria Customs Service says it has intercepted 11.931kg of cocaine valued at about N3.9 billion concealed inside a Ford Transit Bus conveying religious books.
The interception occurred during a stop and search operation by officers of the Seme Command, along Seme-Badagry expressway on Sunday morning.
Hussein Abdulahi, spokesperson for the Command, said in a statement on Friday that customs officers also intercepted 31,950 litres of petrol valued at a little above N10 million along Badagry creek.
Quoting the Customs Area Controller, Bello Jibo, he said the substance was subjected to test and verification by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Mr Jibo said the test indicated that it was cocaine weighing 11.913kg, while its street value was estimated to be N3.9billion.
He said that one suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure, and that the command had initiated offensive patrol against smuggling of petroleum products along the creeks within the Seme and Badagry axis.
According to Mr Jibo, this renewed effort led to the interception of large quantities of petroleum products packaged in sacks on January 26.
He said the items were successfully evacuated to the Command premises where an examination was conducted and 1,065 jerrycans of 30 litres each discovered.
“The petroleum product equivalent to 31,950 litres was discovered with Duty Paid Value at N10,041,198.00,” he said.
He commended sister agencies and Seme border stakeholders for their assistance, and reiterated the commitment of his officers in supporting the government.
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