VIF Neighbiourhood News Digest: 24th January, 2019
US hints at offering FTA for Islamabad’s help in Afghan talks: Dawn
January 24, 2019

US Senator Lindsey Graham, who visited Islamabad this week, is believed to have discussed with Pakistani leaders a proposal for a free trade agreement (FTA) in return for Islamabad’s assistance in ending the Afghan war, official sources told Dawn. At a news briefing in Islamabad on Sunday, Senator Graham also urged US President Donald Trump to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and use this “unique opportunity to change (America’s) relationship” with Pakistan from tactical to strategic. Click here to read...

US-Taliban Talks Enter Third Day, ‘Ceasefire Discussed’: Tolo News
January 24, 2019

In a surprise move, the two-day talks between the United States and Taliban officials this week continued for the third day on Wednesday, reportedly due to discussions around a possible ceasefire. According to sources close to the Taliban, the Doha talks were extended as delegates reportedly discussed the possibility of a ceasefire. However, it is unclear at this stage whether the talks will continue Thursday or whether the two sides wrapped up their discussions on Wednesday. The Afghan government, which has not attended the talks, meanwhile said the Taliban needs to speak to Kabul’s peace negotiating team directly, as the final decision on a ceasefire would be made by the government of Afghanistan. Click here to read...

Integrated check post hindered by bad road: Kathmandu Post
January 24, 2019

Nepal’s only integrated check post in Birgunj, Parsa district is not functioning at full capacity even one and a half years after opening due to delays in widening the road linking it to the dry port. The expansion of the 700-metre-long road begun in March 2018, but the project stalled as it is yet to acquire the necessary land. Click here to read...

Sri Lanka Opposition Attacks PM Wickremesinghe Over New Constitution: NDTV
January 23, 2019

Sri Lanka's Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday slammed the efforts being made to formulate a new Constitution, saying Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's government does not have political moral to introduce it and should therefore hold fresh polls. Mr Rajapaksa was speaking in parliament on the report of the experts panel presented in the Constitutional assembly by Mr Wickremesinghe two weeks ago. Click here to read...

Xi calls for decisive results in reform: China Daily
January 24, 2019

President Xi Jinping called for decisive results to be achieved in reform over key areas by 2020 as he presided over a meeting of senior officials on deepening reform on Wednesday. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said at the meeting of the Central Committee for Deepening Overall Reform that Beijing will continue to fight tough battles and “bite the hardest bones” to ensure that each task will be fulfilled. Click here to read...

Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan delivers speech in Davos: China Daily
January 23, 2019

On January 23, 2019, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan delivered a speech at the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Click here to read...

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