VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 6th February, 2019
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PAKISTAN

US Senate votes against Trump’s withdrawal plan: Dawn

February 6, 2019

US Sena­tors voted across party lines on Monday evening to app­rove an amendment that rejects President Donald Trump’s plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan and Syria. The resolution, adopted by a 70-26 vote, stresses that the United States “faces continuing threats from terrorist groups operating in Syria and Afghanistan and that’s why a precipitous withdrawal of US forces from either country could put at risk hard-won gains and US national security”. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban Denounces Constitution At Start Of Moscow Talks: Tolo News

February 6, 2019

Taliban’s chief negotiator Abbas Stanakzai said in his opening remarks to delegates at the Moscow Peace Talks meeting on Tuesday evening that the group does not consider the current Afghan Constitution “legitimate” and that this blueprint was an obstacle to peace. “The current Constitution is illegitimate and has been imposed on Afghans by Kabul's administration; Afghanistan’s Constitution must be ratified by Afghanistan’s religious scholars and academics so that it will be acceptable to the Afghan people,” he said. Stanakzai said that once US forces withdraw, the Taliban will not demand political monopoly and that in order to achieve sustainable peace, the names of Taliban leaders must be removed from the US blacklist so that they can travel freely in their efforts for peace. Click here to read...

NEPAL

NCP secretariat’s decision irks members of its panel: Kathmandu Post

February 6, 2019
Members of the fourth task force formed by the ruling Nepal Communist Party’s standing committee to finalise the remaining tasks of unification have contested the decision of the party’s secretariat on ‘dissolving’ the panel for failing to complete its tasks on time. This move of the nine-member party secretariat, leaders said, would further escalate the intra-party rift within the NCP. Members of the task force claimed that their works were delayed not because of them but due to the stance of the top two leaders. The panel was given the deadline of mid-January to complete their job. Click here to read...

SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka ready for landmark hanging of drug convicts: Minister: Channel News Asia

Sri Lanka is ready to execute five drug convicts and end its 42-year capital punishment moratorium once President Maithripala Sirisena signs the death warrants and a hangman is appointed, officials said on Tuesday. Sirisena announced last year a tougher line on spiralling narcotics-related crime including executions for repeat drug offenders, inspired by a similar crackdown in the Philippines. The country's justice minister told parliament Tuesday that legal and administrative procedures for the five condemned Sri Lankans were completed last month, paving the way for the first hangings since 1976. Click here to read...

CHINA

Chinese envoy calls for support in combating maritime crime

February 6, 2019

China's UN envoy on Tuesday urged support for "countries concerned" in combating transnational organized crime at sea, pointing out that maritime security remains grim on Africa's west coast. Ma Zhaoxu, Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, told a Security Council meeting that China supports these countries in "enhancing coordination, formulating joint strategies and mechanisms, cracking down on transnational organized crime at sea, and thereby achieving development and prosperity." Click here to read...

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