UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that the UK is prepared for any eventuality from the ongoing post-Brexit negotiations with the European Union over the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
“We’re ready for any eventuality, of course … We will get through this. It’s vital that our partners understand that the UK is going to do what we need to do,” Johnson told reporters during a visit to the English town of Solihull, when he was asked about the possibility of London and Brussels not striking a deal before the end the transition period.
The prime minister said he was even ready to accept an Australia-style deal, although admitted that he would prefer a Canada-style solution.
“If we need to have an Australia-style deal, an Australia-style solution, then that is what we will achieve and we will prosper mightily one way or the other.
“They could be sensible and give us a Canada-style solution, which after all they’ve given Canada, and I very much hope they will, but we’re ready for either eventuality, ” he said.
Johnson’s comments come ahead of the eighth round of trade talks between the UK and the EU that is due to begin in London on Monday.
The possibility of a no-deal Brexit is looming ahead as both sides have blamed each other for the lack of progress in the previous seven rounds.
According to the negotiators, the sticking points include access to fishing waters, the arbitration of legal disputes, and the so-called level playing field, the set of common rules and standards that prevent unfair trade competition.
After the UK abandoned the EU on Jan. 31, both sides entered into an 11-month transition period to set the rules for their future bilateral trade.
If no FTA is secured by Dec. 31, and with Johnson already ruling out the possibility of asking for an extension of the transition period, London and Brussels will have to trade on the terms set by World Trade Organisation, meaning that tariffs and full border checks would be imposed on UK goods entering the EU.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)https://nnn.ng/uk-ready-for-any-outcome-of-post-brexit-trade-negotiations-with-eu-johnson/
Election: PDP commends INEC, Buhari, Edo people
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan at a news conference in Abuja on Sunday, urged INEC to extend the process to future elections, especially the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
“Our party also notes the efforts of the INEC under Prof. Yakubu Mahmood in ensuring that Edo election was conducted in a manner that was largely adjudged to be free, fair, transparent and credible.
“Nigerians hope that what we have witnessed in Edo will not be an off-season procedure in the commission. We demand that this credible process applies to all our elections.
“The PDP applauds the use of virtual portal by INEC to upload results directly from the polling unit, the base of our election, which made it impossible for electoral violators to hijack this electoral process.
“We however urge INEC to strengthen its processes, particularly in the area of card readers, to forestall the type of delays witnessed in accreditation of voters in Edo.
“Our party also notes the improvement in the activities of our security agencies compared to past elections. We hope that our security organs will continue in this stead in future elections.
“The Edo election has indeed shown that credible elections are possible in our country if we play by the rules,” he said.
Ologbondiyan commended President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing credible election, imploring him to continue in the spirit of ensuring that the people were allowed to freely choose their leaders at all elections.
He urged the President to continue to toe the line of allowing for electoral uprightness for posterity.
He, however, said that Edo election must serve as a loud lesson to “political godfathers”, that power belongs only to God.
“He confers through the people; and that no matter how an individual strives to lord it over others, the will of God, through the people, will always prevail,” he said.
Ologbondiyan congratulated Gov. Godwin Obaseki, on his reelection and the people of Edo for their choice.
“This victory, as won by the people, is historic and serves as a strong, viable and unambiguous lesson to leaders.
“We rejoice with the Edo people for helping to reset the political culture of our nation by casting their votes, protecting the votes, ensuring that their votes counted and following it, “bumper-to-bumper”, to the final point of declaration,” he said.
Ologbondiyan appreciated the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu , whose participation in the election helped to deepen Nigeria democracy and enabled the people to make their choice.
“We invite him, in the spirit of sportsmanship, to congratulate his brother, Obaseki and join him in the onerous task of leadership in the general interest of all Edo people,” he said.
Ologbondiyan also commended traditional institutions, faith-based organisations, youth groups, market women, artisans, community associations, trade unions, traditional leaders and other stakeholders in Edo for standing up for their state during her critical moments.
“Furthermore, the PDP applauds the international community for their keen observation of our electoral processes as well as profiling of those who are bent on undermining our democracy and making free and fair elections appear impossible in Nigeria.
“We urge the international community and all lovers of democracy not to relent in providing necessary advisory to our leaders on the conduct of our elections,” Ologbondiyan said.
Ologbondiyan restated PDP’s support for the actions taken so far by the US and UK in restricting electoral violators from visiting their countries.
“We urge them not to restrain on further sanctions against such individuals for their sinister roles in our elections,” he said.
Ologbondiyan appreciated the Chairman of PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, for providing the right leadership that led to the victory in Edo.
He also commended all PDP governors, national assembly caucus, elders, leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of the party for their efforts in the election.
“Furthermore, our party thanks the media, the civil society groups and all Nigerians across board, for showing more than a passing interest in ensuring that the wishes of the people of Edo for a credible and transparent election prevailed.
“We do not take your efforts in this regard for granted.
“The PDP assures of a continuous partnership with all critical stakeholders in our collective desire to recreate a nation that will continue to be our pride,” he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed
Pirlo says Suarez unlikely to join Juventus after all
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)
Visa Ban: FG says sanctioning electoral offenders disrespectful to Nigeria’s sovereignty
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
Nigeria, EU envoys meet to resolve access to airspace, travel ban
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.
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