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UN Assembly President Outlines Vision for 2024

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The President of the General Assembly, Dennis Francis, on Tuesday laid out his priorities in the face of increasing public spotlight over the Gaza crisis, and inaction on the divided Security Council.

Emphasising a commitment to addressing pressing challenges, Francis signalled a determined push for transformative change.

“We must set our sights squarely on the Summit of the Future – the pivotal event of 2024 – where world leaders are expected to gather here in New York and forge a new global consensus on how to better deliver for people and planet,” he said.

With a focus on “supercharging” the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), preparations for the Summit will take centre stage from now until September.

“We must seize every opportunity to adapt our systems for good governance and the efficient delivery of global public goods,” he added.

The president’s term spans the sessions of the General Assembly. For Francis, President of the 78th session of the Assembly, his term started on Sept. 5, 2023 and will end on Sept. 10, 2024.

In his address, Francis underscored the importance of peace as the ultimate goal of our collective efforts and the “bedrock upon which everything we do will rest.”

“It is, therefore, crucial that we demonstrate both our political will and our ability to make this world a more peaceful and secure one.”

Noting the clear Security Council deadlock over the situation in Gaza, he recalled the resolution adopted at the resumed tenth Emergency Special Session.

The resolution had demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and unhindered access for humanitarian aid.

He reiterated his call for the immediate implementation of the Assembly’s decisions and resolutions, for meaningful progress on the ground and saving innocent lives.

“Surely, a military solution is not possible in the Middle East conflict,” Francis added.

Francis also highlighted the Veto initiative, emphasising the critical importance of fostering accountability and cooperation between the UN’s Principal Organs to achieve system-wide coherence.

The President is authorised to convene a formal meeting of the organ within 10 working days of casting a veto by one or more permanent members of the Security Council and hold a debate on the situation as to which the veto was cast.

He also announced the inaugural Sustainability Week (April); the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (Antigua and Barbuda, April); the third Confrence on Landlocked Developing Countries (Rwanda, June).

Also on the calendar is a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance; and a commemorative event marking the 30th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. (NAN)

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Palestinian Death Toll in Gaza Rises to 29,195 Amid Israeli Attacks

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The death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 29,195 with 69,170 others wounded as the Israeli attacks continue, The Gaza-based Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Israeli army had killed 103 Palestinians and wounded 142 others in the Strip during the past 24 hours, the ministry said in a press statement.

It was noted that some victims remained under the rubble amid heavy bombardment and a lack of civil defence and ambulance crews.

Meanwhile, Israeli media outlets said the Israeli army forces were continuing their operations in the north centre and south of the Gaza Strip against Hamas, and have killed many fighters.

The Israeli army announced the death of a 22-year-old soldier as a result of his wounds in the Gaza battles.

The death of the 22-year-old soldier raised the death toll of Israeli soldiers killed in the ground operation to 236.

In addition, the Israeli army revealed a video of Israeli detainees alive in the first days of their detention in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

The video was showing a woman and her two children wrapped in a blanket, taken by gunmen in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the family had been kidnapped by an organization calling itself the “Mujahideen Brigades.” (Xinhua/NAN)

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Namibian President’s Death a Great Loss to Citizens, Africa, the World —Envoy

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Namibia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Humphrey Geiseb has eulogised the country’s late President Hage Geingob, describing his death as a great loss to the country, Africa, and the world.

Geiseb made this known during a memorial church service in honour of Geingob, held at the Catholic Church of Assumption in Abuja, on Monday.

According to him, a lot of lessons can be learned  from the life of the late president, who was a champion for a better life for disadvantaged persons in Namibia.

Geiseb said: “His death is a great loss to Namibians, Africans and the whole world; we have lost a visionary leader as president and one who was a champion of many causes.

“He championed the cause of the poor, unemployed, elderly women and made sure there was an improvement in the number of women represented in the cabinet, as well as parliament during his tenure. 

“President Geingob was an advocate of the less powerful in the society, through his labour he made sure that those who were less powerful were catered for and also mainstreamed in governance.”

He added that the late president was a good leader, noting that the quantum of condolence messages, which he received from Nigerians were a reflection of  his goodness to the people.

Amb. John Shinkaiye, who paid tribute on behalf of the Association of Retired Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) described Geingob as a Pan-Africanist.

“We pay tribute to the late president and mourn his passing with his family, Africa, the Commonwealth and other organisations in which he played outstanding roles.

“We pray his family be comforted and his departure will be honoured by the continuation of a peaceful and vibrant Namibia.”

Amb. Poscaline Vokiwuge Gerengbo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who paid tribute on behalf of the Group of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ambassadors, said Geingob lived a life worthy of emulation.

“On behalf of SADC Ambassadors in Abuja, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and people of Namibia.

“May you find comfort during this difficult time; our presence here is in admiration of a man who gave up his lifetime dedicated to his country and continent at large,” Gerengbo said.

Also speaking, Amb. Ibrahim Gambari, former Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs,  described Geingob as a brother, confidant and passionate African, who was fearless, confident and engaging.

“His sense of statesmanship was similar to leaders like Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and all those great men and women on whose shoulders we stand today.

“He was an outstanding visionary, who saw the transition of his country from an oppressive apartheid regime to embrace ethnic diversity and create room for younger people to share in the vision of Namibia.

“There are not less than 50 Namibians in Nigeria, while there are not less than 3000 Nigerians in Namibia,” Gambari said.

The event, which was officiated by Rev. Fr. Stephen Omale, members of the diplomatic community, attracted former governors and top government officials, as well as the Namibian community in Nigeria.

Reports says that the late President Geingob died on February  4 at the age of 82. (NAN)

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U.S. Senate Approves Ukraine Aid Package

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The U.S. Senate has approved a 95.3 billion dollar aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after many weeks of negotiations.

The bill has passed 70 to 29 in the Democratic-led chamber.

However, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is far from certain, as former president and 2024 frontrunner Donald Trump had urged Republicans to avoid passing legislation.

Trump said that this would give President Joe Biden a chance to claim a legislative victory.

The two politicians are likely to battle for the presidency, once again in November.

The United States has considered Ukraine’s most important ally in the defence against the Russian invasion, since the start of the war in February 2022.

The Biden administration has provided or pledged military aid totalling more than 44 billion dollars for Kiev.

The aid package passed by the Senate includes around 60 billion dollars in aid for Ukraine, the majority of which is earmarked for military support.

This was roughly the amount that Biden had originally requested.

The draft also includes 14 billion dollars for Israel as well as billions in aid for Taiwan and other partners in the Indo-Pacific. (dpa/NAN)

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