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Ukraine president to form ‘foreign legion’, while West sends in arms

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(Last Updated On: February 27, 2022)

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday he is establishing a foreign “international” legion for volunteer fighters from abroad.

“This will be the key evidence of your support for our country,” Zelenskiy said in a statement.

This comes as Western countries have stepped in to help arm Ukrainian soldiers trying to repel the Russian invasion as the conflict intensifies. 

The United States, the United Kingdom and several European nations have already sent large quantities of weapons to Ukraine. On Saturday US President Joe Biden approved $350 million worth of US weaponry — including Javelin anti-tank weapons — for Ukrainian fighters.

Germany and the Netherlands have also pledged to send both anti-tank weapons and missiles to Ukraine.

Australia on Sunday also agreed to send in weapons. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “I’ve just spoken to the Defence Minister and we’ll be seeking to provide whatever support we can for lethal aid through our NATO partners, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom.” 

Russia on Thursday unleashed attacks on Ukraine after months of massing troops near its borders. The military action, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, amounts to a full-scale invasion, says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In a major development, the European Commission on Sunday announced plans to expel some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system, seen as among the most extreme sanctions that could be taken against Russia. 

 

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Peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential: Erdogan

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday highlighted the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan, saying it is essential in terms of threats and risks.

“Peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential in terms of common threats and risks, beyond our humanitarian duty for our Afghan brothers,” Erdogan said in a joint press conference with Pakistan’s prime minister in Ankara.

Erdogan said Turkey and Pakistan will continue to work together to “eliminate the effects of the humanitarian crisis faced by the Afghan people.”

The Turkish leader also commented on the situation in Afghanistan as he said establishing “peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential in terms of common threats and risks, beyond our humanitarian duty for our Afghan brothers.”

He said they will continue to work together to “eliminate the effects of the humanitarian crisis faced by the Afghan people.”

Erdogan also pointed to the solidarity and mutual cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan and reiterated Ankara’s support for Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts.

“We have always seen Pakistan’s pain as our pain, its joy as our joy and its success as our success,” he said.

For his part, Pakistani PM Shahbaz Sharif proposed extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), inviting Turkey to join the multi-billion-dollar project.

“China and Pakistan are great friends and we are experiencing and enjoying the benefits of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under the Belt and Road Initiative of (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping). I would suggest let this be a cooperation between China, Pakistan, and Türkiye,” Sharif said, calling it a “wonderful joint cooperation.”

Sharif also said such cooperation among the three nations “will bring prosperity and progress in this entire region.”

“This will help the alleviation of poverty and unemployment. This will promote education and this is how we can really meet the challenges of today,” the Pakistani prime minister said.

Sharif said he will be “very happy” to talk to his “Chinese friends.”

“If we can move in this direction, I think, this would be a wonderful opportunity to really capitalise” he added.

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UN, Uzbekistan discuss Int’l Group to negotiate with IEA government

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

Deputy head of UNAMA and Uzbekistan’s foreign minister have discussed implementing an initiative to set up an International Group to negotiate with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government.

“We discussed situation in Afghanistan, implementing initiative to set up an International Group to negotiate with Afghan government to agree algorithm for the earliest fulfilling of mutual obligations of the parties,” Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov said on Twitter Friday.

Meanwhile, UNAMA said on Friday its deputy head Markus Potzel concluded his series of meetings with government officials in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on additional regional support to the Afghan people.

“UNAMA will continue its work with all regional actors to assist efforts for a meaningful peace in Afghanistan,” UNAMA said on Twitter.

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UN rights agency’s remarks on floggings an insult to Islam: IEA

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Friday condemned remarks by a spokesperson of the UN Human Rights Office on floggings and said the comments were an insult to Islam.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, in a statement on Friday said the agency was “appalled by mass floggings in public by the de facto authorities of 14 people in Logar province on Wednesday, and calls for this abhorrent form of punishment to cease immediately.”

The statement added that corporal punishment constitutes a form of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which is prohibited under both the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The statement noted that Afghanistan is a State party to both.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for IEA, reacted and said that the remarks were an “insult to Islam and violation of international principles.”

“Countries and organizations should not allow self-interested people to make irresponsible and provoking remarks on Islam and its rules on their behalf,” Mujahid said on Twitter.

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