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Musings From Abroad

EU hints Cyprus could consider migrant deal with Lebanon



European Union (EU) commissioner, Margaritis Schinas, has revealed that the bloc could strike a deal with Lebanon as part of moves to manage the influx of migrants.

The revelation comes after Cyprus complained it was being inundated by a surge in arrivals from the Middle East.

To assist them in coping with the burden of rising migration and, ultimately, stop it from spreading to the other 27 members of the bloc, the EU has agreements in place with several nations. The pacts have drawn harsh criticism from rights groups.

Vice president of the European Commission for promoting the European way of life Schinas suggested that a deal with Lebanon could be mediated similar to the one the EU made on March 17 with Egypt. He remarked that a great deal of planning was necessary.

“We had worked with Egypt for quite some time, but I consider that it’s realistic to move correspondingly with Lebanon,” he said during a visit to Cyprus.

Situated within 100 miles (160 km) from Syria and Lebanon, Cyprus is the easternmost state of the European Union. Asylum seekers have started arriving there more frequently in recent months. In addition to facing a severe economic crisis, Lebanon is also home to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

On March 11, 458 Syrians came to Cyprus in six tiny boats within a single day. Compared to 36 in March of last year, authorities have recorded 533 arrivals by sea this month alone.

“Our country … is facing asphyxiating pressure because of the large number of Syrians arriving in Cyprus,” Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said after meeting Schinas.

Nicosia wants the EU to take into consideration designating areas of war-torn Syria as safe, allowing authorities to repatriate refugees who arrive from that country.

According to the United Nations. data, over 34,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to join the EU illegally so far this year. There are many cultural, economic, and environmental commonalities throughout the Middle East between the countries of Northern Africa, including Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and others. Through the Mediterranean and desert, African migrants have attempted to enter portions of Europe.

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Musings From Abroad

55 million people facing severe hunger in West and Central Africa— UN



A food crisis has been made worse by rising prices in West and Central Africa. In the next few months, nearly 55 million people will have trouble feeding themselves, according to a warning from the United Nations relief groups on Friday.

The groups said that the number of people going hungry during the June–August lean season had quadrupled in the last five years. They further claimed that economic problems like double-digit inflation and stagnant local production were major causes of the crisis, along with ongoing battles in the region.

A joint statement from the World Food Program, UNICEF, and the Food and Agriculture Organization said that Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Mali are among the countries most severely affected. In the north of these countries, about 2,600 people are expected to die of extreme hunger.

“The time to act is now. We need all partners to step up … to prevent the situation from getting out of control,” said Margot Vandervelden, WFP’s acting regional director for West Africa.

Malnutrition is very high because of a lack of food, according to the agencies. They say that 16.7 million children under five years old are severely malnourished across West and Central Africa.

Food supplies have made things harder, especially for countries like Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone which are already dealing with high inflation.

“To respond to the unprecedented food and nutrition insecurity,” said Robert Guei, the FAO’s Sub-regional Coordinator for West Africa, policies should be put in place to increase and diversify local food production.

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Musings From Abroad

Russia begins diesel exports to Sudan as EU boycott bites



London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) data shows that Russia has started sending fuel to troubled North African country, Sudan.

The sales begin amid new demand for Russia’s refined goods following a trade boycott against it by the EU over the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Since February 2023 when the EU put a full ban on importing Russian oil products, diesel has been sent to Brazil, Turkey, and countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It has also been loaded from ship to ship.

Data from LSEG shows that two fuel ships, the Pavo Rock and the Conga, brought about 70,000 metric tons of ultra-low sulphur diesel to Sudan after loading it in February at Primorsk in the Baltic Sea. Shipping records show that the goods were unloaded at Port Sudan Al Khair Terminal on April 2 and April 5, respectively.

The Marabella Sun, a ship that was loaded in March at the Russian Baltic port of Vysotsk, is now on its way to Port Sudan and should be unloaded on April 17.

A source quoted by Reuters claims Sudan needs about 45,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 6,000 tons per day, of diesel to meet local demand. However, Sudan’s Petroleum Ministry did not answer a request for comment.

About 60,000 to 70,000 metric tons of diesel are brought into Sudan every month, mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. According to the LSEG, about 116,000 metric tons of diesel came into Sudan in March.

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