VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 7 March 2018
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PAKISTAN
Pakistan, Taliban have legitimate grievances: US: Dawn
March 07, 2018

The United States has acknowledged that both Pakistan and the Taliban have legitimate grievances and the United States is willing to address those concerns. At a Monday news briefing, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells confirmed that senior US and Pakistani officials will hold a series of meetings in Washington this week, and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua will lead the Pakistani delegation at these two-day talks. Official sources, however, said that Secretary Janjua’s visit has been delayed for a day as she had changed her schedule for last minute consultations in Islamabad. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Tashkent to Hold Peace Summit On Afghanistan: Tolo News
March 06, 2018

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will open a high-level international conference on Afghanistan - "Peace Process, Cooperation in the Sphere of Security and Regional Interaction" - in Tashkent later this month, Uzbekistan’s media reported. According to uzdaily.com, the conference will take place on March 26 and 27, and will be held in the country’s capital Tashkent. High-ranking officials are expected to attend including UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres and the UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, as well as the foreign ministers of China, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, uzdaily.com reported. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Abbasi, Nepali leaders discuss BRI, Saarc: Kathmandu Post
March 07, 2018

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi wrapped up his two-day official visit to Kathmandu on Tuesday, after discussing with Nepal’s leaders the Belt and Road Initiative of China and a proposal to revive the stalled Saarc process. Abbasi had meetings with President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. At the dinner hosted by PM Oli on Monday evening, the visiting prime minister met some former prime ministers of Nepal. However, ex-PMs Sher Bahadur Deuba and Baburam Bhattarai skipped the event. During the delegation level talks with PM Oli on Monday evening and with Dahal on Tuesday morning, the Pakistani PM took up two issues of geopolitical significance for Nepal—the BRI and the Saarc process. In his meeting with Oli, Abbasi shared the progress made with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project under China’s BRI in which Pakistan is building huge infrastructure such as rail, road, ports, airports and electricity grids. Click here to read...

SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka declares state of emergency in wake of communal violence: CNN
March 06, 2018

A state of emergency has been imposed in Sri Lanka for the first time since the civil war following days of communal violence between the island's Sinhalese and Muslim communities. The special measures, enacted by the government Tuesday, will see soldiers deployed across the island for an initial 10-day period in a bid to prevent the unrest from spreading. Violence has so far centered in and around the city of Kandy, located in the island's Central Province, where the death of a Sinhalese Buddhist youth on March 4, allegedly at the hands of a group of Muslim men, has sparked riots and arson attacks on Muslim businesses and mosques. Sinhalese Buddhists make up about 75% of the population in Kandy. Click here to read...

MALDIVES
Maldives’ current crisis not similar to attack of Nov 1988: Shivshankar Menon: Haveeru
06 March, 2018

The former National Security Advisor of India, Shivshankar Menon, has stated that there was no call for Indian intervention to change the government of the Maldives, as the island country was not under an armed attack similar to the coup of November 3, 1988. In November 3, 1988, Indian troops had been sent to the Maldives at the request of the then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, to neutralize an armed coup attempt by the People Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) with the help of a few Maldivian collaborators. In a ceremony held at the National Institute of Technology in India, the former foreign secretary had defended the Indian government’s stance on the Maldives, stating that India had no interest in having a specific individual as the president of the Maldives. Click here to read...

CHINA
US mulling broad curbs on Chinese investment, imports, sources say, as trade war looms: South China Morning Post
March 07, 2018

The Trump administration is considering clamping down on Chinese investments in the US and imposing tariffs on a broad range of its imports to punish Beijing for its alleged theft of intellectual property, according to people familiar with the matter. Click here to read...

China urges North Korea and South Korea to ‘seize opportunity’ after leaders summit agreed: South China Morning Post
March 07, 2018

China has cautiously welcomed an agreement by North and South Korea to hold a historic summit, urging both sides to “seize the current opportunity” to promote the denuclearisation of the peninsula. Click here to read...

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