Ghana Diplomat Preaches Love, Unity As Country Marks 62nd Anniversary

Ghanaian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Rashid Bawa

 

The Ghanaian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Rashid Bawa, has called for the unity and love of Africans in the continent.

He made this call on Thursday in commemoration of Ghana’s 62nd independence anniversary in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“As citizens of global wealth, we need to uphold the tenet of unity and rally round our governments to bring about the needed development for our individual countries.

“For Ghana, the Akufo-Addo government is committed to maintaining peace and stability and also to collaborate with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) in maintaining peace and world order,” he stated.

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The diplomat also reiterated his country’s commitment to participate in peacekeeping operations at the regional, continental and global levels where necessary.

While urging Africans to contribute their quota to the continent’s development, he decried the level of corruption among leaders.

“As citizens, we have to step up and help in the development of our countries. As citizens, we have to step out and help in ending corruption which has so much affected our development,” he said.

Saudi Executes Bangladeshi For Diplomat’s Murder

Medina, Qatif, Saudi Arabia

 

 

A Bangladeshi man was hanged in a jail outside Dhaka over the murder of a Saudi diplomat in 2012, an official said Monday.

Khalaf Al Ali, 45, who worked in the consular section of the Saudi Arabian embassy, was shot in the capital’s diplomatic zone in front of his rented apartment. He later died in hospital.

Police at that time said 30-year-old Saiful Islam, who was hanged on Sunday, led the gang who tried to rob the diplomat.

“He was executed in accordance with a court order,” prison official Shahjahan Ahmed told AFP.

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The Supreme Court in August upheld Islam’s death sentence. He was originally sentenced to death in 2013 by a trial court which described him as the main perpetrator of the killing.

More than two million Bangladeshis are working in Saudi Arabia, which is a key ally of the South Asian country and a major donor.

Bangladesh regularly executes death row convicts despite criticism from human rights groups.

In recent years at least five top Islamist leaders, who have been convicted of war crimes, and nearly a dozen Islamist extremists were executed — all by hanging — in high-security prisons.

AFP

Canadian Diplomat Diagnosed With Mysterious Cuba Brain Injury

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Another Canadian diplomat in Havana has been diagnosed with a mysterious brain trauma that in 2016 starting afflicting Canadian and US officials in the Cuban capital, a senior official said Thursday.

The latest case, identified in the “early summer of 2018,” brings the total number of afflicted Canadian diplomats and their family to 13.

Meanwhile, a review of Canada’s diplomatic presence in Cuba has been launched, a senior Canadian government official speaking on condition of anonymity told reporters.

“Medical testing has now confirmed that an additional employee has been affected by the unusual health symptoms,” the official said.

“These are similar to those previously experienced by diplomatic staff in Cuba as identified earlier this year.”

The official said in regards to the review that “all options to secure the health and safety of our diplomats in Havana are open,” but offered few details.

The Canadians continue to receive care while a federal police investigation in collaboration with US and Cuban authorities remains open.

Canadian and US authorities had initially suspected an attack using some sort of acoustic weapon, which led to heightened diplomatic tensions between Washington and the Caribbean island nation. But Ottawa later concluded that to be “unlikely.”

American doctors and officials have pointed to “a new type of a possible acquired brain injury” outlined in a February issue of Journal of the American Medical Association by health experts at the University of Pennsylvania, who treated 21 US diplomats.

Canada has accepted that theory.

Those who were afflicted included global affairs, immigration and national defence staff at the embassy as well as their spouses and children, officials said.

In April, the families of Canadian diplomats posted in Havana were ordered home as a precaution. But Canadian tourists are not believed to be at risk.

The symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, hearing and vision complications, a loss of balance, nausea, and an inability to concentrate.

AFP

Trump Sends U.S. Diplomat To Saudi Arabia Over Missing Journalist

 

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he is sending his top diplomat to Saudi Arabia after Saudi King Salman told him in a phone call that he has no idea what happened to missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen,'” Trump said in a tweet, adding he was “immediately sending” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the king.

Trump has taken a cautious position since the disappearance of Khashoggi — a Washington Post contributor and critic of powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Trump has threatened “severe punishment” should proof emerge to back claims that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi and disposed of his body.

However, the US president has repeatedly made clear that he will not risk billions of dollars in deals to sell weapons to the kingdom, which is a strategic ally in the tinderbox Middle East.

Following days of mounting tensions, Saudi officials were allowing Turkish investigators to enter the consulate on Monday.

A Turkish diplomatic source said it was expected that the search, to be conducted jointly with Saudi authorities, would “take place towards the evening.”

Lurid claims have appeared in Turkish media, including that Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered. However, the Turkish leadership has so far refrained from pointing the finger directly at Riyadh in public comments.

The controversy has troubled Saudi Arabia’s traditional Western allies — many of the arms suppliers to the kingdom — and also undermined efforts by the prince, Mohammed, to present himself as the modernizing future of the kingdom.

An investment conference is seen as a platform for the crown prince, due to take place next week in Riyadh and dubbed “Davos in the Desert,” has been hit by a string of prominent cancellations.

Business barons including British billionaire Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as well as media powerhouses like Bloomberg and CNN, have pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative (FII).

In major new twin blows to the credibility of the event, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford also canceled plans to attend, CNBC reported.

In Washington, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, is coming under pressure after having spearheaded the administration’s strategy to forge close ties with Mohammed.

But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday that he still plans to attend the Saudi conference.

“If more information comes out over the next week, I will obviously take that into account,” he said.

AFP

Canada ‘Seriously Surprised’ As Saudi Expels Diplomat

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks after receiving Foreign Policy’s 2018 Diplomat of the Year award in Washington, DC. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

 

Canada said Monday it is “seriously concerned” after Saudi Arabia announced it is expelling Ottawa’s ambassador and recalling its own envoy in protest over “interference” in its internal affairs.

The shock Saudi move, announced by the foreign ministry on Twitter, came in response to Ottawa’s vigorous demands that jailed human rights activists be released.

“We are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Marie-Pier Baril, a Canadian foreign ministry spokeswoman.

“Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, very much including women’s rights, and freedom of expression around the world. Our government will never hesitate to promote these values and believes that this dialogue is critical to international diplomacy.”

The kingdom earlier said it had declared Canadian Ambassador Denis Horak persona non grata and given him 24 hours to leave the country, and that it was recalling its ambassador from Ottawa for consultations.

The ministry also announced, “the freezing of all new trade and investment transactions with Canada while retaining its right to take further action.”

“The Canadian position is an overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted.

Canada last week said it was “gravely concerned” over a new wave of arrests of women and human rights campaigners in the kingdom, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi.

“We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists,” the foreign ministry tweeted on Friday.

AFP

US Diplomat Involved In Fatal Traffic Accident Leaves Pakistan

 

Pakistan has allowed a US diplomat involved in a fatal traffic accident to leave the country, an official said Tuesday, following a weeks-long standoff and street protests over the incident.

The diplomat — described as the defence attache in an earlier report — departed Islamabad late Monday, a senior Pakistani government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“The US diplomat has been allowed to return to the US in light of the High Court’s decision that he had diplomatic immunity,” the official said.

A US embassy spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

A sports utility vehicle in which the diplomat was travelling hit a motorcyclist and his passenger at an intersection in Islamabad last month.

Atiq Baig, 22, died of head injuries while his cousin, who was the passenger, was injured.

Weeks later, a second accident involving a US diplomat colliding with a motorcyclist also made headlines in the country but only resulted in minor injuries.

Tensions are simmering between Islamabad and Washington as the US pushes Pakistan to crack down on safe havens it allegedly provides for militants.

In January the White House suspended nearly two billion dollars in funding in an attempt to force Pakistan to halt its alleged support for the Afghan Taliban and other Islamist groups.

Pakistan has long denied the accusation.

In the wake of the fatal collision, the Pakistani media drew repeated comparisons with the fatal shooting of two men by CIA contractor Raymond Davis in the eastern city of Lahore in January 2011.

After months of negotiations, a Pakistani court eventually freed Davis following the payment of $2 million to the families of the dead men.

AFP

 

Amosun Describes Late Ashiru’s Death As Great Loss To Ogun State

AmosunThe Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has described the death of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ayodeji Ashiru as a very painful and personal loss.

In a  press statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Olufunmilayo Wakama, Amosun described the death of Ambassador Ashiru as a great loss to him, Ogun State, where he hailed from and the nation as a whole.

Amosun expressed sadness that his death occurred at a time when his wealth of experience in international diplomacy would have been most needed in shoring up Nigeria’s image  in the face of the insurgency that confronting the nation.

“He was a career diplomat, who served the nation meritoriously in several capacities. He was our pride in the diplomatic circles. A proud and illustrious son of Ogun State. He would be surely missed,” the governor said.

He prayed almighty God to grant his soul rest and give his family and relatives the fortitude to bear the great loss.

Al-Qaeda Offers Bounty For U.S. Diplomat In Sanna

Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has announced that it will pay tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who kills the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa or an American soldier in the country.

An audio produced by the group’s media arm, the al-Malahem Foundation, and posted on militant websites Saturday said it offered three kilograms of gold, worth $160,000, for killing the ambassador.

The group said it will pay 5 million Yemeni riyals ($23,000) to anyone who kills an American soldier inside Yemen.

It did not say how the bounty could be collected, but said the offer is valid for six months.

The bounties were set to “inspire and encourage our Muslim nation for jihad,” the statement said.

Washington considers Al Qaeda in Yemen to be the group’s most dangerous branch.