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Too much money: UK signs multimillion pounds deal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing 

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The United Kingdom parliament has reached an agreement to sign a deal that would send asylum seekers who cross the English Channel in small boats, to Rwanda while their claims are processed in the UK.

The move which was proposed two weeks ago by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was put on hold as the parliament could not come to an agreement on how the deal would be handled.

But after a lot of deliberations, the agreement which will be worth millions of dollars to the African country, is to be announced on Thursday and will target people trying to reach England in small boats and claim asylum.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will sign the 120 million pound ($158m) agreement for a “migration and economic development partnership” in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

According to Patel, the cost would be funded by UK taxpayers.

As part of the deal, crossing the English Channel in small boats will be made a crime, and those who are allowed to stay will have to live in strictly-controlled camp-like environments while their cases are considered.

Last year alone, more than 28,000 people crossed from Europe to the UK, many in small dinghies, with many losing their lives after their boats sank.

“Before Christmas 27 people drowned, and in the weeks ahead there may be many more losing their lives at sea, and whose bodies may never be recovered.

“Around 600 came across the Channel yesterday. In just a few weeks this could again reach a thousand a day,” Johnson said, while justifying the deal with Rwanda.

Johnson who has been under renewed pressure by the British press after being fined by police for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules at a number of parties in his office, is also set to announce new plans to tackle people-smuggling gangs in the Channel.

But his critics say Johnson is trying to “divert attention from his own behaviour amid calls for his resignation over the repeated lockdown breaches.”

Musings From Abroad

Italian firm, Eni signs $8 billion Libya gas deal as PM Meloni visits Tripoli

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With the aim of boosting energy supplies and other markets, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) signed an $8 billion gas production deal with Italian energy company Eni.

The deal, which comes despite the insecurity and political chaos in the North African country was signed during a visit to Tripoli by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, aims to increase gas output for the Libyan domestic market as well as exports, through the development of two offshore gas fields.

Meloni met Libya’s Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, head of the internationally recognised Government of National Unity (GNU) in Tripoli for talks that also focused on migration across the Mediterranean.

At a joint news conference with Descalzi, the NOC chief, Farhat Bengdara, said the gas deal had a duration of 25 years and called it the most important new investment in Libya’s energy sector for a quarter of a century.

According to a statement by Eni’s chief executive, Claudio Descalzi, the output will begin in 2026 and reach a plateau of 750 million cubic feet per day.

“This agreement will enable important investments in Libya’s energy sector, contributing to local development and job creation while strengthening Eni’s role as a leading operator in the country.”

Since the beginning of the current Russia/Ukraine war, European countries have sought alternate gas sources outside Russia. Italy on its part has already taken a lead in sourcing gas from Algeria, building a new strategic partnership there that includes investment to help state energy company Sonatrach reverse years of declining output.

Libya is the fourth natural gas producer on the African continent, and oil and gas resources largely contribute to Libya’s export trade. The country developed a strong oil sector after major oil discoveries in the late 1950s.

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Musings From Abroad

EU chief, Josep Borrell, wants South Africa to influence ceasefire with Ukraine

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The regional bloc,  European Union wants South Africa to influence Russia to stop its ongoing war with Ukraine.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday raised expectations that the African country will use its good relations with Russia to convince it to stop the war in Ukraine.

Borrell, while speaking alongside South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor in the capital Pretoria, said “The EU isn’t asking South Africa to choose sides, just asking countries across the world to stand with the UN Charter.”

The EU considers South Africa an important partner in the rules-based international order, he added.

Pandor said: “It is not just South Africa and other African countries that must play a role in seeking peace.”

Full diplomatic relations between South Africa and Russia were established in 1942 as the Soviet Union. Russia has an embassy in Pretoria and a consulate-general in Cape Town. South Africa has an embassy in Moscow.

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