VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: April 1, 2019
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PAKISTAN
Appreciate Pakistan’s support to peace process, says Khalilzad: Dawn
April 1, 2019

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, while recognising Pakistan’s neutrality in the Afghan peace process, has urged all Afghans to app­roach the forthcoming elections and the ongoing talks with the Taliban with equal seriousness. “Enter negotiations as if there were no elections, united as a country, and do elections as if there were no negotiations,” he wrote in a tweet, pointing out that the suggestion came from EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini at a meeting in Brussels earlier this week. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Questions Raised Over Dostum’s ‘Absence’ In Official Meetings: Tolo News
April 1, 2019

Four years after the establishment of the National Unity Government, the First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has rarely attended official meetings. His close aides said this should be “clarified” by President Ashraf Ghani. “This is something that should be asked from Mr. President (Ashraf Ghani) in the light of the law,” said Abdullah Qarloq, a close aide to Dostum. Dostum left the country to Turkey in 2016 after allegations against him by one of his close aides and former colleagues Ahmad Eschi who said he was sexually assaulted by Dostum and his bodyguards over their internal rifts. Dostum stayed in Turkey for 14 months and returned home last year in July. But despite that, his presence in cabinet meetings was not visible. He was seen in a meeting with President Ghani last year in December where they discussed the country’s security situation following reports of high casualty rates among Afghan forces. Click here to read...

MALDIVES
Maldives court lifts freeze on Yameen’s bank accounts: The Hindu
April 1, 2019

A Maldivian court on Sunday ordered the authorities to lift a freeze on former President Abdulla Yameen’s bank accounts holding about $6.5 million but said a money laundering case against him would proceed. The High Court overturned the Criminal Court’s earlier decision to freeze the eight accounts over allegations that Mr. Yameen had received illicit payments just before he lost his re-election bid in September. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
Myanmar seizes largest crystal meth haul this year: Gulf News
March 30, 2019

Myanmar authorities seized more than 1,700 kilogrammes of crystal meth worth nearly $29 million (Dh106.4 million) in a multi-state operation this week, the biggest haul of 2019 in a country widely believed to be the world’s largest methamphetamine producer. High-grade crystal meth — or “ice” — is smuggled out of Myanmar via sophisticated networks to lucrative developed markets as far away as Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Click here to read...

CHINA
China launches new data relay satellite: Xinhuanet
April 1, 2019

China sent a new data relay satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province late Sunday night. The Tianlian II-01 satellite was launched at 11:51 p.m. Beijing Time by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. Click here to read...

China will continue to suspend extra tariffs on US vehicles, auto parts: China Daily
April 1, 2019

The State Council said on Sunday that China would continue to suspend additional tariffs on US vehicles and auto parts after April 1, in a goodwill gesture following a US decision to delay tariff hikes on Chinese imports. Click here to read...

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