VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: July 12, 2019
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PAKISTAN
US general calls for maintaining military ties with Pakistan: Dawn
July 12, 2019

The future US military chief said on Thursday that the United States needs to maintain strong military-to-military ties with Pakistan, based on the shared interests of the two countries. Gen Mark Milley, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also warned at his nomination hearing that a premature withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would be a strategic mistake. “If confirmed as chairman, my objective will be to preserve the defence relationship between the United States and Pakistan even as we press Pakistan to take action on US requests,” Gen Milley told the Senate Armed Service Committee at a hearing in Washington. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Future Intra-Afghan Dialogues Will Be Result-Oriented: MoFA: Tolo News
July 12, 2019

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Thursday said that any future dialogue between Afghans will be inclusive, vital and result-oriented. This comes after a 60-member Afghan delegation comprising Afghanistan’s politicians, representatives of media outlets, civil society activists, youths and women met senior members of the Taliban in the Gulf State of Qatar on July 7 and 8 where they issued a resolution in which the Taliban committed to reduce violence and halt attacks on certain areas such as “religious centers, schools, hospitals, educational centers, bazaars, water dams, and workplaces”. An intra-Afghan dialogue conference is expected to be convened in one of the regional countries, said MoFA spokesman Sibghat Ahmadi. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Prime minister says he's in the dark. His critics aren’t delighted: Kathmandu Post
July 12, 2019

Last week, when asked about a letter from the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu demanding that pesticide tests for imported farm produce be revoked, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had professed ignorance. Even as he called the very existence of the letter into question, copies of the letter were making the rounds on social media. Oli was forced to eat his words, admitting that the letter existed but that he had been deceived. “I was not informed about the letter from the embassy,” Oli later said. “I was misled.” On Wednesday, during an appearance on Nepal Television, Oli, who is known for his brash manner and off-the-cuff remarks, apologised. “I need to admit and accept my mistake,” he said. “I said the letter was just a rumour, but I was misinformed.” This was not the first time that Oli, who heads a government-backed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament, admitted to having been “misled”, “deceived” or “kept in the dark”. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
Bangladesh charges former Chief Justice with graft: The Hindu
July 11, 2019

Bangladesh’s anti-graft office has charged the former Chief Justice with corruption nearly two years after he fled the country saying he was forced to resign, an official said on Thursday. Surendra Kumar Sinha, who had led the South Asian nation’s Supreme Court to a landmark verdict on judicial independence that went against the government, left Bangladesh in late 2017 amid widespread allegations he had been pressured to step aside. Opposition groups raised fears that his departure was a blow to the credibility of the judiciary in the Muslim-majority country, ruled by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party since 2009. Click here to read...

CHINA
China assures foreign firms amid tensions: China Daily
July 12, 2019

The Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday that there is no massive withdrawal of foreign investment from China, and vowed that the country will firmly protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign enterprises in the country. Click here to read...

China must ensure transparency to boost credibility of Belt and Road projects, former US diplomat says: South China Morning Post
July 12, 2019

China must ensure transparency surrounding the projects under its controversial Belt and Road Initiative to attract international investors, said Daniel Russel, the vice-president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and a former top US diplomat in Asia Click here to read...

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