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NIGERIA: UN to Transport Remains of 2 UN Fallen Peacekeepers

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NIGERIA: UN to Transport Remains of 2 UN Fallen Peacekeepers

… FG to decide mode of burials***

Two UN Nigerian fallen peacekeepers killed in Mali will be transported to their country after a memorial service by UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Mr. Benjamin Olafaju, Head of Chancery at the Nigeria Permanent Mission to the UN told the Newsmen in New York that their bodies would be transported to Nigeria after the ceremony.

The memorial will be held at Parade Ground, MINUSMA headquarters, Bamako at 10.00 am on Friday.

Similarly, UN Spokesperson, Mr. Stéphane Dujarric confirmed to NAN that the remains of the fallen peacekeepers would be received by the Nigerian Government after the ceremony.

“They will… soon after the memorial ceremony, they will be transported back to their home country, and then it will be up to the Nigerian military and the Nigerian Government to decide on the burial,’’ he said.

Earlier in a statement, through Dujarric, Secretary-General António Guterres condemned an attack against a UN police patrol in northern Mali that claimed the lives of two Nigerian peacekeepers on Dec. 16.

Dujarric said that in addition to the deaths of the male and female peacekeepers in Timbuktu town earlier in the day, four other blue helmets from MINUSMA were injured.

Attacks targeting UN peacekeepers “may constitute war crimes” under international law, the statement continued.

The UN chief called on the Malian authorities to “spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing the perpetrators of these heinous attacks to justice”.

He offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved families, the Government, and the people of Nigeria and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

“The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations continued support to, and solidarity with, the people of Mali,” Dujarric said.

At the same time, the Security Council issued a statement condemning the attack “in the strongest terms” and paid tribute to “all peacekeepers who risk their lives”.

They called on the Transitional Government of Mali to “swiftly investigate” the attack with the support of MINUSMA and promote accountability by bringing the perpetrators to justice.

The ambassadors reminded Mali officials to keep the relevant troop-contributing country informed of the progress consistent with the Security Council resolutions on the safety and security of peacekeepers (2518) and accountability for any violence against them (2589).

They underlined that involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring, or conducting attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers “constitutes a basis for sanctions”.

The responsibility of UN personnel safety rests with host States, the statement continued, highlighting the importance of communications between MINUSMA and Mali’s Transitional Government.

The Council reaffirmed that terrorism constitutes “one of the most serious threats to international peace and security”, describing it as “criminal and unjustifiable”, regardless of the motivation.

They emphasised the need to “bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice” and for all States to combat terrorism in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.

While reiterating its full support to MINUSMA and other security presences in the Sahel region, the Council expressed concern over the security situation in Mali and the transnational dimension of terrorism in the Sahel region.

They urged the Malian parties to fully implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali “without further delay”.

“Lasting peace and security in the Sahel region will not be achieved without a combination of political, security, peacebuilding and sustainable development efforts benefiting all regions of Mali, as well as the full, effective and inclusive implementation of the Agreement,” they said.

The Council further stressed the importance of MINUSMA having the necessary capacities to fulfill its mandate and promote the safety and security of the blue helmets.

These “heinous acts” will not undermine the peacekeepers’ determination to continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Mali, the statement stated. 

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Palestine ends security coordination with Israel after deadly raid in West Bank

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Palestine ends security coordination with Israel after deadly raid in West Bank

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced the end of security coordination with Israel in response to the killing of nine Palestinians in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman of the Palestinian presidency, said in a press statement.

“In the light of the repeated aggression against our people and the undermining of signed agreements, we consider that security coordination with the Israeli occupation government no longer exists as of now.”

The decision came after an emergency meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee, the Fatah Central Committee, and the Palestinian government.

The meeting was chaired by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Earlier, the Israeli army force stormed the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank and killed nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, and wounded 16, four of them in serious condition.

Abu Rudeineh called on the Palestinian factions for more peaceful popular resistance “to protect the Palestinians and their capabilities in the face of settler terrorism and the Israeli occupation forces.”

The Palestinian leadership has decided to immediately turn to the UN Security Council for international protection for the Palestinian people under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to stop unilateral measures, he said.

The Palestinian leadership will also go urgently to the International Criminal Court to add “the file of the massacre committed by Israeli forces in Jenin on Thursday to the files previously submitted to the court,” the spokesman added.

Security coordination between Israel and the PA was brought on by the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the PLO in the 1990s.

 The establishment of the PA itself was also an outcome of the Oslo Accords.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2022, and at least 29 have been killed in January this year, according to figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

According to a statement by the United Nations, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.

The tensions had been further aggravated since Israel’s most right-wing government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took office last month. 

Xinhua

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S. Korea’s childbirths hit record low in Nov.

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S. Korea’s childbirths hit record low in Nov.

 The number of babies born in South Korea has reached yet another record low in November, data showed on Thursday, reflecting the country’s dire population crisis.

A total of 18,982 babies were born in November, plunging 4.3 percent from the previous year, according to data from Statistics Korea.

This, the data said, marked the lowest number for any November since the statistics agency started compiling related data in 1981.

South Korea remains dogged by a chronic decline in childbirths as many young people delay or give up on having babies in the face of an economic slowdown and high home prices.

However, between the periods of January and November, a total number of 231,863 babies were born, down 4.7 percent from a year earlier.

Its total fertility rate, the average number of children a woman bears in her life-time came to just 0.79 in the third quarter, the data showed.

In 2021, it stood at 0.81, marking the fourth straight year to hover below one. It was much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 which would keep South Korea’s population stable at 51.5 million.

South Korea, which first reported more deaths than births in 2020, is also widely expected to maintain the trend for the third consecutive year in 2022.

Over the January-November period, South Korea had 107,004 more deaths.

The number of deaths came to 30,107 in November, up to 6.1 percent from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the data showed that the number of marriages rose to 2.2 percent on-year to 17,458 in November as more people tied the knot following the ease of  COVID-19 regulations.

Divorces fell by 3.1 percent on-year to 8,498 in the month.

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Zelensky repeats his rejection of negotiations with Putin

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Zelensky repeats his rejection of negotiations with Putin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reiterated his rejection of negotiations with Russia before a withdrawal of Russian troops.

“Talks would only be possible if Russia withdraws its soldiers, admits its mistake and there is a new government in Moscow,’’ Zelensky said on Thursday.

“ Only then would talks be possible,’’ he said.

The president had already banned negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin by decree at the end of September 2022.

Zelensky stressed that a meeting with Putin made no sense. “It is not interesting for me. Not interesting to meet, not interesting to speak,” he said.

“They don’t want talks, and that was the case even before the invasion. President Putin decided so.”

He said he was convinced that Ukraine was only the first step for Putin.

“Before the war, there were meetings with Putin.

“I saw a man who said one thing and then did another,” Zelensky said.

“Who is he now? After a full-scale invasion, for me, he is a nobody.” 

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