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TICAD7: Buhari to Spend Six Days in Japan

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja Sunday for Japan to participate in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) holding in the City of Yokohama, August 28-30, 2019 and is expected back in Nigeria on Saturday, August 31.

According to the Presidency, Buhari’s participation would be his second, having attended TICAD6 in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2016.

With the theme, “Africa and Yokohama, Sharing Passion for the Future,” the Opening Session of TICAD7 would be performed by the Japanese Prime Minister and host, Shinzo Abe.

President Buhari would deliver Nigeria’s Statement during Plenary Session Three in which he will appraise Nigeria-Japan relations and takeaways from TICAD6.

He will attend a State Banquet and also honour the invitation of Emperor Naruhito to a Tea Reception at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo. In addition to a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe, the Nigerian President will also attend some side-events and meet chief executive officers of some Japanese companies with huge investments in Nigeria.

Formed in 1993, the now triennial TICAD, which has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since TICAD6, according to the organisers, is the largest international conference held in Japan which “provides an open forum that generates innovative discussion among various stakeholders on African development.” Participants are drawn not only from African countries, but also international organisations, private companies and civil society organisations involved in development.

TCAD7 would focus on Africa’s “economic transformation and improvements in business environment and institution through private investment and innovation; promotion of resilient and sustainable African society for human security; and peace and stability in support of Africa’s domestic proactive efforts.”

Nigeria has gained tremendously since her participation in TICAD6 at the highest level, during which Japan pledged $30 billion investment “for the future of Africa combined with the private sector;” $10 billion infrastructure investment, and $500 million for vocational training of 50,000 Africans.

Since the Nairobi Conference, Japanese government and companies have been very active in supporting Nigeria’s agriculture, healthcare, electricity and youth empowerment.

The President and his delegation are expected in Yokohama to push for broader Japanese assistance in the areas of science and technology, innovation, human resource development, education, agriculture, power, health and disaster risk reduction, among others.

President Buhari was accompanied by Governors Babagana Zulum, AbdulRaham AbdulRazaq and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Borno, Kwara and the Lagos States respectively; ministers and other top government officials.

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Putin Demands Ukrainian Troop Withdrawal in Exchange for Peace

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the territories annexed by his country is a prerequisite for any settlement of the ongoing war.

Putin said this during a visit to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow ahead of the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland at the weekend.

If Ukraine also renounces membership of NATO, Russia would be prepared to cease fire and enter negotiations immediately.

His speech was clearly aimed at the current G7 summit in Italy and the Ukraine event opening on Saturday in the Swiss mountain hotel resort of Bürgenstock.

The affiliation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson to Russia is no longer in question, Putin said.

Ukraine should withdraw its army from the parts of these regions that it still controls, he added.

The Kremlin leader said he was stating Russia’s minimum demands in order not to freeze the conflict but to resolve it once and for all.

At the same time, Putin repeated the demands he made when he ordered the invasion of the neighbouring country in February 2022: The creation of a neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free Ukraine.

The country should also be disarmed and “denazified,” said Putin, using a term widely interpreted in the West as meaning the instalment of a Russia-approved leadership in Kiev.

Russia currently occupies around a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, including the Crimean peninsula, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

Ukraine has so far adhered to its stated goal of retaking the occupied territory, including Crimea.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is also calling for the prosecution of Russian war crimes and Russian reparations for the destruction caused. (dpa/NAN) 

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Biden Accuses Trump of Using ‘Hitler’s Language in Newspaper Mock-up

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U.S. President Joe Biden has accused his predecessor and likely election opponent Donald Trump of using Nazi rhetoric following the publication of a video referencing a “unified Reich.’’

Trump is using “Hitler’s language’’.

That’s not America’s, Biden said in a campaign video released.

In the short clip, the Democrat held a phone in his hand and said, referencing the video, is this on his official account? Wow.

Earlier, on Monday, Trump had shared a video which was later deleted on his social media site Truth Social, showing mocks of newspaper articles that would be written if Trump won the presidential election in November.

Among the bits of text featured was a subheading referring to the creation of a unified Reich.

The term, empire in German, is often associated with the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945.

The word Reich in the video presumably refers to the founding of the German Reich in 1871, with the text being taken from a Wikipedia entry on World War I, according to U.S. media.

The video was created using a ready-made newspaper article mask.

According to the reports, it has also been used in other clips circulating online,.

Other newspaper headlines in the video published on Trump’s platform also make reference to World War I.

Trump’s team later confirmed that the clip had been removed from his account.

A spokeswoman for his campaign team said that “it was not a campaign video, it was created by a random account online and reposted by a staffer who clearly did not see the word.’’

Biden also attacked the Republican, who is hoping to return to the White House, at a campaign event in Boston on Tuesday.

The 81-year-old said that “the threat that Trump poses is greater in the second term than it was in the first,’’ according to reporters travelling with him.

He called Trump a little unhinged and accused him of seeking revenge after losing the 2020 presidential election.

Biden and Trump were all but guaranteed to face off on Nov. 5 in a rematch of the 2020 vote.

They both achieved the required number of delegates to be nominated as candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties respectively.

Trump has been using radical rhetoric in his election campaign, including hateful and dehumanising language, as well as making racist statements and inciting hatred against minorities.

The 77-year-old also compared Biden’s government to the Gestapo, the official secret police of Nazi Germany. (dpa/NAN)

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France Rejects Recognising Palestinian state at Present

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France’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné has rejected the idea of recognising Palestine as a state at the moment.

“Our position is clear:  recognition of Palestine is not taboo for France,” the minister said on Wednesday after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz in Paris.

The minister, however, said that  decision in favour of the recognition must be beneficial and would be made at the right time.

He said that such a decision should  enable decisive progress at the political level.

“It is not just a symbolic question or a question of political positioning, but a diplomatic instrument in the service of a solution with two states living side-by-side in peace and security.

“France does not believe that the conditions have been met to date for this decision to have a real impact on this process,” Séjourné said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Norway, Ireland and Spain said they would recognise Palestine as a state on May 28.

Katz’s visit to Paris followed France’s position in favour of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which chief prosecutor applied for arrest warrants on Monday against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

The Paris Foreign Ministry stated that it supported the ICC, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations.

After the meeting with Katz, Séjourné wrote on X: “I reaffirmed France’s priorities: immediate release of the hostages, ceasefire, massive humanitarian aid and two states living in peace and security.”

(dpa/NAN)

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