Foreign

Malta accepts over 420 migrants after 40 days at sea

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Malta decided on Saturday night to allow the disembarkation of around 425 migrants who spent more than a month at sea while the country was waiting for solidarity from other European states.


The Maltese government rented the boats, which are usually used to ferry tourists, to continue fulfilling its international obligations to save lives of people in distress at sea.

In a statement issued late on Saturday evening, the government said the decision to allow migrants on all four boats into Malta was taken because the situation on the vessels had deteriorated due to a “commotion” abroad.

Reports earlier in the day suggested that the crew and some 20 security officers on board had to take refuge in the upper level of one of the vessels following what was described as trouble among the migrants on board.

But sources said the situation on board the vessels had deteriorated due to the bad weather that hit the Mediterranean Sea, with force 8 winds and high waves.

“The government is not ready to endanger the lives of the crew and individuals, including Maltese citizens, working with these immigrants due to the lack of action and solidarity by other European states for these migrants to be redistributed among other EU states,” the government said in its statement.

It said its efforts to continue securing a relocation deal was still underway. It promised to fast-track the asylum process for the migrants arriving from countries deemed as safe. Those whose asylum applications are turned down will be returned home within days, the government said.

“This case shows that despite promises of solidarity, no other European countries were willing to share the burden,” it said.

The four boats were 13 nautical miles east of Valletta where they housed the migrants rescued since the end of April. The Maltese government had rented the boats on April 30, May 7, May 22 and May 27 as more migrants were rescued in Maltese waters.

Some groups had been allowed to disembark in Malta as they were mostly children, their parents and pregnant women.

(XINHUA)

https://nnn.ng/malta-accepts-over-420-migrants-after-40-days-at-sea/

Sport

Pirlo says Suarez unlikely to join Juventus after all

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Juventus are unlikely to sign FC Barcelona and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez afterall, coach Andrea Pirlo said on Saturday as he prepared for the start of the new Serie A season.


Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri last month in spite of having no senior coaching experience, will make his debut at home to Sampdoria on Sunday.

He said Juventus needed a centre-forward but that there was not enough time for Suarez to obtain an Italian passport.

Juventus have already used up their limit of two non-EU signings following the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Arthur and United States international Weston McKinnie.

They will only be able to add Suarez if he can obtain an EU passport.

“We’re all waiting for a centre-forward. There is still a long way to go in the transfer window. So, we’re calm and happy, we’re not in a hurry,” said Pirlo.

“Suarez is difficult because it takes a long time to get the passport. So, it’s unlikely that it could be him”.

Although Suarez is eligible for Italian naturalisation as his wife is a citizen of the country, the process usually takes several years.

This is a detail overlooked in much of the speculation linking him to the Serie A champions over the last month.

Pirlo said Cristiano Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski would share the role against Sampdoria.

“Neither Kulusevski nor Ronaldo will start in the classic centre-forward position. They will try to move according to what the other does,” said Pirlo.

“There will be rotations to allow as many people as possible to arrive in the area.”

The 41-year-old said he was relaxed ahead of the new season where he would be expected, at the minimum, to bring Juventus a tenth successive Serie A title.

“After a month of Juve I have no doubts, but many certainties,” he said. “I have fitted in well, now the pitch will do the talking.”

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

 

https://nnn.ng/pirlo-says-suarez-unlikely-to-join-juventus-after-all/
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Foreign

Visa Ban: FG says sanctioning electoral offenders disrespectful to Nigeria’s sovereignty

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The  Nigerian government has said it considers it disrespectful to the Sovereignty of the country for any outside country to apply punitive measures such as visas restriction on its citizens.


The Nigerian government made this known in a statement issued by Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that this comes as a response to the recent announcement of the United States and the United Kingdom to impose visa restrictions on those who undermine electoral processes.

The Nigerian Government said it was committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners, especially the United States and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.

“They have also expressed their intentions to take punitive measures against those who decide to, in what they termed as, undermine democracy.

“It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.

“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.

“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led Peace Committee.

“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.

“It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.

“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and United States to cooperate with our relevant agencies,” the government said.

The government called on the partners to support security agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.

The Nigerian government also expressed solidarity with the government and people of the United States as regards their forthcoming election, which it hoped would be free from interference and violence.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN

 

 

https://nnn.ng/visa-ban-fg-says-sanctioning-electoral-offenders-disrespectful-to-nigerias-sovereignty/
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Nigeria, EU envoys meet to resolve access to airspace, travel ban

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The Federal Government and envoys of the European Union (EU) on Friday in Abuja met to resolve the issue of access to airspace following the ban on some airlines by the Nigerian government.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting is coming after the Federal Government opened its airspace on September 5.

The Federal government had banned some airlines, which included Lufthansa, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the closed door meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the meeting was at the instance of the EU envoys.

Onyeama said that the meeting also discussed the issue of access to the European space of passengers coming from Nigeria, stating that the Nigerian side was very keen on knowing what exactly applied to Nigerians.

He further said there was obviously some misinformation which made the situation altogether not very clear.

“We understand that this has created some concerns and tensions, so we are here to listen to each other, diplomatically and politely.

“And in a friendly manner to try and see how we can begin to resolve outstanding issues of concern on either side.

“So, what we have asked the European side, to let us have, is the detailed information on Nigerians that can access European space from Nigeria.

“So, which category of Nigerians can in this present time and with the release and restrictions announced by the EU are affected? Who are the people considered on essential travel?

“And what chances does an average Nigerian have to visit a European country from here?

“So, to give us that information so that every Nigerian will be in a position to know whether they can access the European space irrespective of the fact whether they have a visa or no visa.

“There are a lot of Nigerians who have long-term visas, two-year Schengen visa and so forth and clearly, not all of them are able or have to write now as it stand, to enter Europe. So, we want to have that information,”Onyeama stated.

Onyeama also said that the Nigerian side decided and pointed out that just as the EU reviews its policies every two weeks, the Nigerian Government is also doing same and also look into the policies during PTF meetings.

Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, said the availability of flights from Europe to Nigeria was very essential due to the ongoing collaboration between the EU and Nigeria.

Karlsen also said the EU appealed to its partners on the Nigerian side to reconsider the possibility of having again, some of the larger air carriers from Europe, flying with Nigeria.

He added that Nigeria was never picked out, even as he said there was never a ban against flights coming from Nigeria to Europe.

“Nigeria was never picked out, there was never a ban against flights coming from Nigeria to Europe, there was never, as I see it, a retaliation or reciprocity at play here.

“Merely, what Europe has done is exactly the same that Nigeria has done namely, looking at very carefully, what essential groups of people should come in a time of crisis.

“And how can we provide protocols to handle that in terms of testing and isolation, if needed,”Karlsen said.

In his remarks, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said Europe is the strongest partner of Nigeria as far as the aviation sector is concerned.

Sirika said that whatever was done was not targeted at the EU and was subject to review.

NAN reports that in attendance from the Nigerian side were the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State, Health, Senator Olurunnimbe Mamora; the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu.

The EU delegation included the Ambassadors of Germany, Netherlands, and France.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/nigeria-eu-envoys-meet-to-resolve-access-to-airspace-travel-ban/
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UN urges Belarus to grant entry to UN rights expert

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Belarus should grant free access to specialised UN experts to monitor human rights issues, including prisons, the UN Human Rights Council urges in a resolution.


In addition to demanding entry for UN Belarus monitor Anais Marin, the Human Rights Council also calls on Belarus to stop using violence, torture and arrests to quash civil rights.

The resolution, which was initiated by European countries says Belarus authorities should start a dialogue with the opposition and civil society.

The resolution was adopted with 23 yes votes, two no votes from Eritrea and Venezuela, and 22 abstentions.

Similarly, Belarusian opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, appealed to the UN on Friday for an international monitoring mission to be sent to Belarus to document an ongoing violent police crackdown on her supporters.

“The scope and the brutality of the extensive force used by the regime is in clear violation of all international norms and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN,” Tikhanovskaya said in an address to the UN Human Rights Council.

At least 7,000 protesters have been detained in Belarus since a disputed presidential election more than a month ago.

The UN has received 450 reports of torture and other abuse of detainees.

President Alexander Lukashenko, 66, has led Belarus, a former Soviet republic between Russia and EU member state Poland, for more than a quarter-century, tolerating little dissent.

Tikhanovskaya placed second in the Aug. 9 election, according to the disputed official tally.

She says she won and has demanded a new election. There have been protests in Belarus every day since the vote.

“We demand … an international monitoring mission to document the regime’s atrocities,” Tikhanovskaya, 38, told a special meeting of the UN council via video link.

She dismissed the Belarusian leadership’s allegations that, by seeking to intervene in Belarus’ post-election crisis, foreign powers have been meddling in the country’s internal affairs.

“It is very important to recognise that standing up for democratic principles and human rights is not interfering in internal affairs.

“It is a universal question of human dignity,” Tikhanovskaya said.

The UN Human Rights Council held the urgent debate in spite diplomats from Belarus and its close allies trying to prevent reports on violations from being presented at the meeting in Geneva.

“It is vital for the future of Belarus to break these cycles of increasing repression and violence,” Deputy UN Rights Chief Nada al-Nashif said.

“Civil society is a valuable partner, not a threat,” she added.

After al-Nashif’s speech, envoys from Belarus, Russia, Venezuela and China raised a long series of points of order to complain that the UN official had been allowed to speak, and to stop additional reports from a UN rights investigator and from Belarusian civil society representatives.

The Austrian diplomat, who presides over the Human Rights Council, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, finally issued a ruling to stop these interventions.

Belarusian Ambassador Yury Ambrazevic rejected all accusations voiced in the council, which heard video messages from the foreign ministers of Denmark, Slovakia, Poland, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

“We believe it is not acceptable to use this body here to interfere in the election in any individual country,” Ambrazevic said.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ifeyinwa Omowole
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/un-urges-belarus-to-grant-entry-to-un-rights-expert/
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