VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: June 28, 2019
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PAKISTAN
Final version of budget to be shared with IMF by July 1: Dawn
June 28, 2019

The government is expecting final passage from the National Assembly of the Finance Bill 2019-20 on Friday (today), after which the next stop will be the International Monetary Fund (IMF) board meeting, which is currently scheduled for July 3. The final budget measures passed by the assembly along with a report on compliance with all prior actions will be key elements in the board’s decision to grant Pakistan’s request for accession to a $6 billion bailout facility. The final, approved version of the budget and finance bill are expected to be transmitted to the Fund by Monday, a senior government official familiar with the process told Dawn. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
US-Taliban talks resume tomorrow: Dawn
June 28, 2019

The next round of peace talks between the United States and Taliban begins in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday amid renewed hopes for a rapid progress in ending the 18-year-old war. Both sides are hoping to finalise a draft text, addressing key issues like withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, a nationwide ceasefire and intra-Afghan talks. “Based on my recent visits to Afghanistan and Qatar, I believe all sides want rapid progress,” US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad wrote in a tweet. He also confirmed that the next round of talks will start on June 29. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Only five trucks have crossed the Tatopani border since its reopening: Kathmandu Post
June 28, 2019

Despite reopening the Tatopani-Khasa border point to much pomp and ceremony last month, only five trucks have entered Nepal since, a dismal showing for a trade point that was expected to revitalise bilateral trade with China. Four trucks crossed into Nepal on the day the trade point opened, and since then, just one more truck carrying wool has arrived, according to Nepali traders. Local traders who spoke to the Post pointed to a host of unresolved issues--numerous restrictions imposed by the Chinese, a lack of protocol for trade, the poor condition of connecting infrastructure, and a shortage of logistics--for the poor showing of what was once Nepal’s second largest trading point, with hundreds of trucks crossing over every day. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
Myanmar military rejects International Criminal Court prosecutor's call for probe into crimes against Rohingya Muslims: Firstpost
June 28, 2019

Myanmar's military on Thursday rejected International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's call for a full investigation into alleged crimes against Rohingya Muslims. Bensouda launched a preliminary probe in September into the 2017 crackdown by Myanmar's military that forced some 740,000 Rohingya over the border into Bangladesh with accounts of rape, mass killings and razing of villages. On Wednesday, she said she would take the issue to the next stage by submitting a request to ICC judges to open a full investigation. It is not clear when that decision would be made. Click here to read...

CHINA
Xi, Abe reach 10-point consensus to promote bilateral relations: Xinhuanet
June 28, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reached here on Thursday a 10-point consensus to jointly promote the healthy development of bilateral relations, according to a senior Chinese diplomat. The consensus was reached during a meeting between Xi and Abe ahead of a summit of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies slated for Friday and Saturday in the Japanese city of Osaka, Wu Jianghao, director-general of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters. Click here to read...

China supports US-DPRK dial: People’s Daily
June 28, 2019

Beijing supports Washington and Pyongyang in holding another leaders' summit for progress on the political settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, President Xi Jinping said on Thursday. Click here to read...

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