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UN Sec Council to demand vote on siege of Sudanese city

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According to diplomats on Wednesday, the UN Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution sponsored by the British that calls for an end to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) blockade of al-Fashir in Sudan’s North Darfur area on Thursday.

De-escalation in and around the city, an immediate end to hostilities, and the evacuation of all fighters who pose a threat to civilian safety and security are all demanded in the draft text.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Britain requested that the 15-member council have a vote on the draft. For a resolution to be passed, it must receive nine votes in favour and not be vetoed by China, Russia, the US, the UK, or France.

The worst displacement crisis in history was caused by a war that broke out in April of last year in Sudan between the Sudanese Army (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The final significant city outside of the RSF’s dominion in the vast western Darfur region is Al-Fashir. After storming through four more Darfur state capitals last year, the RSF and its supporters were held accountable for a wave of abuses and racially motivated killings in West Darfur against non-Arab populations.

About 800,000 people in al-Fashir are in “extreme and immediate danger,” according to top U.N. officials who warned the Security Council in April, as the violence escalates and poses a threat to “unleash bloody intercommunal strife throughout Darfur.”

The draft Security Council resolution “demands that all parties to the conflict ensure the protection of civilians, including by allowing civilians wishing to move within and out of Al-Fashir to safer areas to do so.”

It also calls on countries “to refrain from external interference which seeks to foment conflict and instability and instead to support efforts for a durable peace and reminds all parties to the conflict and member states who facilitate the transfers of arms and military material to Darfur of their obligations to comply with the arms embargo measures.”

The United States claims that in addition to the fighting parties, the RSF and its allies have perpetrated crimes against humanity and ethnic genocide. According to the U.N., half of Sudan’s population—nearly 25 million people—need humanitarian assistance, and eight million have abandoned their homes as hunger levels are rising.

According to a U.N. sanctions monitoring assessment seen by Reuters in January, between 10,000 and 15,000 people were killed in one city alone in Sudan’s West Darfur area last year in ethnic violence by the RSF and associated Arab militia.

The Security Council will vote on a draft resolution that “calls on the parties to the conflict to seek an immediate cessation of hostilities, leading to a sustainable resolution to the conflict, through dialogue.”

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Musings From Abroad

Niger, Turkey expand energy, defence cooperation

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Following Niger’s request for the departure of Western military forces and the cancellation of many Western countries’ mining contracts, Turkey and Niger decided to increase their collaboration in the areas of energy, mining, intelligence, and defence.

On Wednesday, MIT intelligence chief, Ibrahim Kalin, Energy Minister, Alparslan Bayraktar, Defense Minister, Yasar Guler, and Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, of Turkey paid a visit to Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The Turkish team also met with General Abdulrahman Tiani, the leader of Niger, who assumed office in July of last year following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum by the military council he led and the country’s shift in allegiance.

The junta expelled the French forces, and the United States was instructed to remove its military men from the nation. Additionally, it broke security agreements with the EU.

Two months have passed since Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Niger’s Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine met in Ankara, where the Turkish officials are currently on a visit.

Following their discussions on Wednesday, Fidan informed reporters that officials from Turkey and Niger had talked about enhancing their defence intelligence collaboration.

Guler talked about measures to strengthen defence and military training cooperation between Turkey and Niger, an official from the Turkish Ministry of defense said on Thursday.

The energy ministry of Turkey announced on Wednesday that the two nations had inked a statement of intent to assist and motivate Turkish enterprises to develop the oil and natural gas resources in Niger.

Niger is the seventh-largest producer of uranium in the world and possesses the highest-grade uranium ores in Africa.

However, a Turkish diplomatic source stated that Ankara is not looking to purchase uranium from Niger for its first nuclear power station, which is being built in Akkuyu in Turkey’s Mediterranean area by Russia’s Rosatom.

 

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Musings From Abroad

IMF lowers Botswana’s growth projection for 2024

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In a statement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced its earlier April estimate of 3.6% growth for Botswana to 1%, primarily because of decreased diamond production.

In addition, the IMF warned that a decline in mineral income would cause the budget deficit to balloon to 6% from 3.45% and urged the diamond-rich nation in southern Africa to think twice before embarking on new infrastructure projects to support the economy.

“The continued (economic) slowdown is mainly due to a fall in diamond production,” said IMF said in a statement released late on Friday.

“Some fiscal relaxation is warranted this year given the fall in mineral revenues, but the execution of the ambitious capital budget should be slowed down to contain the deterioration of the deficit and prioritize projects with the highest returns,” the IMF said.

 

The demand prognosis for diamonds, which are typically regarded as luxury goods, has decreased due to weaker consumer demand and a weakening in the global economy.

Finance Minister Peggy Serame predicted in February that the economy would expand by 4.2%, but a few months later the central bank issued a warning, stating that the ongoing challenges in the world diamond market made it doubtful that this goal would be met.

Diamond sales account for 30–40% of Botswana’s total revenue and 75% of its foreign exchange profits.

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