KABUL, 23 May 2022, (TON): Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has met the new leader of the United Arab Emirates.
A statement from the deputy premier’s office said “Baradar was visiting the UAE to attend Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s funeral.”
He met Mohammad bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to express his condolences on the demise of Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
In talks with other officials of the UAE, Mullah Baradar discussed ways of strengthening bilateral trade relations.
NEW DELHI, 23 May 2022, (TON): The fourth edition of bilateral Coordinated Patrol exercises between Bangladesh and Indian Navy began in the Northern Bay of Bengal.
During the exercise, units of the Bangladesh Navy and Indian Navy will undertake joint patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line, the Indian Defence Ministry said in a statement, reports Hindustan Times.
The naval exercises will take place till Monday.
DHAKA, 23 May 2022, (TON): Experts told “Bangladesh will have to remain incessantly engaged bilaterally, regionally and globally to resolve the complex and protracted Rohingya crisis despite the lack of progress over the past few years.”
Failure to resolve the crisis quickly will have consequences of multiple dimensions, including radicalism.
They said “this will affect not only Bangladesh, but also the region and will have global implications.”
The speakers also said that Dhaka should revisit its foreign and defence policies backed by credible military deterrence in dealing with the Myanmar regime.
They also placed great emphasis on convincing the world actors, especially the United States, to get more involved in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis through the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas.
DHAKA, 23 May 2022, (TON): Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina extended her warmest greetings to Han Duck-soo on his appointment as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea.
The prime minister said "I, on behalf of the people and the government of Bangladesh and on my own behalf, extended warmest greetings and heartiest felicitations to Han Duck-soo on his appointment as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea.”
She hoped that the bonds of friendship, understanding, and cooperation that so happily exist between the two friendly countries will be further strengthened during Han Duck-soo's term in office.
The premier said “Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea enjoy excellent bilateral relations based on shared values, mutual respect, and common aspirations.”
Prime Minister's Office Press Wing’s press release said "our relationship experienced tremendous growth in depth and dimensions over time.”
She said "In recent years, our bilateral trade and investments have witnessed a substantial expansion leading to an enhanced presence of Korean companies and entities in Bangladesh."
DHAKA, 23 May 2022, (TON): The Bangladesh government has decided to provide humanitarian assistance of Taka one crore to Afghanistan as the country is distressed with various crises, including a severe food crisis.
A foreign ministry press release said “the donation would be disbursed to the fund of the UN Body's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.”
On the basis of the approval and direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the foreign ministry has taken the necessary steps to send the money to the UN OCHA.
By TON Research Desk
After passing one and half year, the Myanmar junta has not ready to collaborate with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s peace plan for Myanmar, known as its Five-Point Consensus, in spite of approving it at a meeting with the leaders of the regional grouping’s member states.
The Myanmar junta is still away from implementing the promise made by the junta chief and his associates have run a brutal nationwide crackdown to suppress widespread public opposition to its rule.
The Five points the regime decided with the ASEAN leaders are an instant finish to ferocity in the country; discourse among all parties concerned; the choice of a special envoy; delivery of humanitarian aid by ASEAN; and a visit by the bloc’s special envoy to Myanmar to see all parties.
However, the junta has ignored its pledges to ASEAN over the past 12 months, and that ‘is why the peace plan has miserably failed to make any progress ahead. Instead of instantly ending violence as pressed for, the junta has sustained to commit carnages across the country with additional killings, bombings, mass arbitrary arrests, and continuing violence.
The number of innocent citizens killed by the junta rose to over 1,800 this month. More than 1,075 of those killings happened after the joint promise was issued. Those killed include more than 130 children, old persons, adolescents, serene protesters, and politicians, doctors, and human rights activists.
More than 13,000 people have been imprisoned by the junta, which in recent months has progressively resorted to taking family members and relatives in lieu of wanted activists in a bid to blackmail them into taking sides with themselves.
Additionally, the junta violated the call to exercise restraint, the junta has unrelenting its undiscerning violence campaign and scorched civilian houses in confrontation strongholds including racial minority areas, compelling hundreds of thousands to escape, and murdering nationals including children.
More than 11,000 civilian houses were scorched down by junta forces from May last year to onward and occurred some of the regime’s nastiest assaults against the people of Myanmar.
The junta has also disallowed ASEAN’s call for positive dialogue among all parties concerned in order to pursue a nonviolent result. In the opposing to this, the junta leader has rejected the negotiations with regime adversaries.
In a speech on Armed Forces Day in March, The junta chief swore to thrash all opposition to his rule. The regime has professed major resistance groups including the parallel National Unity Government (NUG) shaped in the wake of the coup, and its equipped wing, the People’s Defense Force (PDF) which was declared a terrorist organization by the Myanmar junta.
Declining to talk to either group junta chief has asked racial armed organizations for peace talks but the major groups which are engaged in heavy fighting with junta troops, have overruled his offer, demanding the NUG and PDF should be involved in any negotiations.
Rupturing a pledge it made under the consensus, the junta has unceasingly banned all demands not only from the regional bloc, the United Nations, and the West but also from China to meet Myanmar’s imprisoned leaders the ex-State Counselor, and President.
A prearranged visit to the country by ASEAN’s first special envoy, chosen to implement the consensus pledge, was canceled when the junta deprived him of his entrance to other leaders.
It was only last week that ASEAN’s current chair, Cambodia, hosted an advice-giving meeting on ASEAN philanthropic aid for Myanmar with the junta and international aid organizations, announcing a plan to deliver aid via the regime.
The decision has engrossed widespread criticism both locally and internationally due to its breaches of ASEAN’s own five-point Consensus. It was a partisan conference that was merely busy with the regime and its consequence has nothing to do with the welfare of the Myanmar people.
In contrast of it, ASEAN should hold a multi-stakeholder discourse in harmony with the Five-Point Agreement and take action according to the outcome of such dialogue. Now ASEAN itself has dishonored the Consensus.
At the moment, the ASEAN’s consensus has failed because the bloc was engaging with the wrong party, the Myanmar junta instead of the NUG.
The member of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M) also said the NUG symbolizes Myanmar and is the accurate party to lead aid arrangements with ASEAN. NUG Foreign Minister also urged ASEAN member states and leaders to involve different stakeholders in line with the Five-Point Consensus instead of the Myanmar junta.
After a year of being ignored by the junta and seeing no willingness on its part to cooperate and abide by the consensus, some ASEAN member states have begun to engage with the NUG.
Recently, Malaysia’s foreign minister met with his counterpart from the NUG in Washington, where ASEAN leaders were collected for an unusual summit between the US and the bloc. Malaysian Foreign Minister became the first minister from an ASEAN member country to individually and publicly meet a NUG minister. ASEAN should also the suit.
It is true the Five-Point Consensus needs to be implemented but the issue is that there is no culpability device that the aid would reach the needy masses of Myanmar. Now it is time for ASEAN to move to meet all stakeholders because if coup leaders failed to deliver the aid to the affected masses of Myanmar then what would happen next? This is a headache for the ASEAN leadership.
Although, ASEAN has proved a fiasco for over a year, as a clear way up for Myanmar. However, ASEAN and the rest of the world continue to treat the consensus and press the junta to end its violence against civilians. Unless this failed approach is abandoned and stronger action assumed to opportune and whole enactment” of the peace plan there will be no progress in the coming days.
By Usman Khan
Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister who has been the stock of criticism and derision for the way he was catapulted to power by President and secured his power on Tuesday, when the government-side two votes. The nominee of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) won the secret ballot for the post of Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Some opposition MPs say to suspend the Parliament Standing Orders to take up the debate on the motion expressing displeasure against President as a matter of urgency, was defeated. The results showed that the government, backed by the ruling SLPP, is still in intact and enjoying majority support in parliament.
The nominee of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna obtained 109 votes, a majority of 31 votes as opposed to 78 obtained by the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya’s nominee.
The ruling party MPs, ex-prime minster and his son were absent during the vote for the Deputy Speaker, while at least two MPs whose arrest has been advised by the Attorney General were present in the House.
The move to suspend Parliament Standing Orders to take up the debate on the motion expressing displeasure against President as a matter of urgency was beaten by a majority vote of 51 votes. A total of 119 lawmakers had voted against the motion while 68 voted in favor. The motion showed the anger against the President will not be taken up for debate in the House as a “matter of urgency”.
Sri Lanka’s main opposition SJB on Monday decided to support the new government under the new Prime Minister for the sake of the country’s economic recovery, the party said. However, if the government tries to accommodate turncoats from the SJB or attach them to any policies against the SJB’s principles, the favor will be withdrawn the party said.
The SJB said in a declaration that as a responsible political party, Samagi Jana Balawegaya desires to safeguard and steer out the country from the current economic crisis. It is evident that without taking any portfolio for the betterment of the country, SJB in its parliamentary group discussion decided to fully support the current government in its efforts on “economic recovery”.
However, SJB MPs have written to the Prime Minister requesting answers to several questions before deciding on helping the new Government. Some of the important questions are that, what would the time period for President exit.
Furthermore, what legal action is planned to be taken against those who attacked peaceful “Go protesters” and against those who conspired to stage the August 2019 Easter Sunday attacks in which 270 people died.
The new Prime Minister requested MPs to make a new Code of Conduct and a Parliamentary Standards Act in a bid to end the confrontational culture of Parliament. He referred the bid by protesters to prevent MPs from entering or leaving parliament as part of the “Go Home” agitation.
In the meantime, Attorney General’s Department directed the CID to arrest 22 suspects if sufficient evidence is available against them over the attack on protesters near Temple Trees and Galle Face on May 9.”
The Department has also instructed the CID to record the statements of those on whom foreign travel bans have been imposed including the travel ban on former Prime Minister. The former Provincial Council member and an employee of the Moratuwa Municipal Council have already been taken into custody over the unrest.
According to the Trade Union Coordinating Centre (TUCC) statements a series of protests is also expected to be launched on soon across the island against the arbitrary arrests made in the wake of the unrest that broke out last week.
The co-convener of TUCC said the protests will be carried for three days. He said the trade unions hope to seek legal action against those who incited violence from inside the Temple Trees, the Prime Minister’s official residence, on May 9.
The trade unions will force the government and the Inspector-General of Police to take them into custody. The chief secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) said the teachers and principals will support this series of trade union action. It also shows that the island country will face turbulent days ahead also unless the solid solution of its economic crunch.
SEOUL, 22 May 2022, (TON): US President Joe Biden and South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol said “after meeting Saturday that they will consider expanded military exercises to deter the nuclear threat from North Korea at a time when there’s little hope of real diplomacy on the matter.”
Yoon affirmed in remarks at a news conference that their shared goal is the complete denuclearization of North Korea.
The US and South Korea issued a joint statement that said they were committed to a “rules-based international order” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The statement likely sets the stage for how the US and its allies will address any challenges with North Korea.
The statement may draw an angry response from North Korea, which had defended its nuclear weapons and missile development on what it perceives as US threats and long described the U.S-South Korea military exercises as invasion rehearsals, although the allies have described the drills as defensive.
HELSINKI, 22 May 2022, (TON): Russia halted providing natural gas to neighboring Finland, which has angered Moscow by applying for NATO membership, after the Nordic country refused to pay supplier Gazprom in rubles.
Natural gas accounts for about eight percent of Finland’s energy consumption and most of it comes from Russia.
Following Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has asked clients from unfriendly countries including EU member states pay for gas in rubles, a way to sidestep Western financial sanctions against its central bank.
Finnish state-owned energy company Gasum said it would make up for the shortfall from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline, which connects Finland to Estonia, and assured that filling stations would run normally.
The company said in a statement “natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum’s supply contract have been cut off.”
Gasum said Friday that it had been informed by Gazprom Export, the exporting arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom, that the supply would stop on Saturday morning.
RIYADH, 22 May 2022, (TON): According to an official report “Saudi authorities arrested 12,458 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations.”
From May 12 to 18, a total of 7,836 people were arrested for violations of residency rules, while 3,134 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 1,488 for labor-related issues.
The report showed that among the 115 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 47 percent were Yemeni, 35 percent Ethiopian, and 18 percent were of other nationalities.
A further 71 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and 19 were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.