Hollande Slams Trump’s ‘Double Fault’ Over Iran Nuclear Deal

former French president Francois Hollande. Photo: Handout / Maeil Business Newspaper / AFP

Former French president Francois Hollande on Tuesday slammed Donald Trump’s hardline stance on the Iran nuclear deal — which Paris helped to negotiate — as a “double fault”, warning the US president’s “unpredictability” threatened global stability.

Trump’s threat to ditch the landmark 2015 agreement, which saw Tehran dramatically scale back its nuclear ambitions in return for an end to punishing sanctions, has sparked a chorus of foreign support for the pact.

“Donald Trump’s decision not to certify the accord and to demand that Congress strengthen sanctions is, to my eyes, a double fault,” Hollande told a conference in Seoul.

The former leader’s first speech on international affairs since leaving the Elysee in May touched on global issues including climate change, economic protectionism, and populist politics — and laid into the “confusion” appearing to emanate from the White House.

Trump has said the agreement was letting Iran off the hook but left it up to the US Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.

The former French leader said the US president’s actions showed a “deep misunderstanding of the negotiation’s purpose”, which was to “stop Iran from obtaining weapons, and not to make it change its politics”.

He also accused Trump of “damaging the credibility of any future negotiations with North Korea” with Washington’s about-turns, a concern shared by European Union ministers.

“It has to be shown that agreements will be kept to in the long term,” Hollande said.

The EU said Monday it would send its chief diplomat Federica Mogherini to Washington next month to fight for the nuclear deal.

Hollande said the world “has not been this polarised, in different ways, since 1945”.

“And the role of the United States serves to further complicate the situation, especially if confusion reigns at its top.”

In the face of nuclear proliferation, the world needed “certainty and stability”, he added. “The worst option is unpredictability, which can lead to irrationality.”

AFP

Paris Agreement On Climate Change Comes Into Effect

paris-agreement-logoThe Paris agreement on climate change has officially taken effect on Friday, November 4, 2016.

The historic agreement opens a new phase in the global climate governance and its implementation is a major step in coping with the global climate change.

The threshold for entry into force of the Paris agreement was achieved on October 5, 2016, when 97 of 197 countries that signed the agreement, ratified it.

Nigeria signed the agreement on September 22, 2016, although it is yet to ratify it.

President Muhammadu Buhari said that his signing of the Paris Agreement demonstrated Nigeria’s commitment to a global effort to reverse the effects of the negative trend.

The President made the statement while addressing the opening of the meeting on Taking Climate Action for Sustainable Development in New York, co-hosted by Nigeria and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as one of the Side Events of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).Buhari, Paris Agreement, Nigeria, Climate Change, Muhammadu Buhari, UN General Assembly

President Buhari, with the signing of the Paris Agreement, committed Nigeria to reducing “Green House Gas Emissions unconditionally by 20% and conditionally by 45%” in line with Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions.

He expressed confidence that with support from development partners, Nigeria will meet these targets.

The President also promised to ensure the ratification of the Paris Agreement before the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016.

The United States and China officially ratified the Paris agreement on September 3, saying the ratification could help put the pact into force before the end of the year.

UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, who was in China to witness the declaration, received the plan to join the agreement from American President, Mr Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.

Buhari Signs Paris Agreement; Says Nigeria Will Reverse Effects Of Climate Change

Buhari, Paris Agreement, Nigeria, Climate Change, Muhammadu Buhari, UN General AssemblyPresident Muhammadu Buhari has said that his signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change has demonstrated Nigeria’s commitment to a global effort to reverse the effects of the negative trend.

The President made the statement while addressing the opening of the meeting on Taking Climate Action for Sustainable Development in New York, co-hosted by Nigeria and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as one of the Side Events of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).

President Buhari, had shortly before this event, signed the Paris Agreement, where he committed Nigeria to reducing “Green House Gas Emissions unconditionally by 20 per cent and conditionally by 45 per cent” in line with Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions.

Describing the signing as historic, he had also expressed confidence that with support from development partners, Nigeria will meet the above targets.

The President also promised to ensure the ratification of the Paris Agreement before the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016.


He stressed that it was to demonstrate his personal dedication to the process of implementing the Agreement that he was hosting the side event on Taking Climate Action Towards Sustainable Development.

Genuine Efforts

President Buhari, who said he was privileged to have been part of the Paris Agreement, expressed appreciation to what he called “the genuine efforts by President Francois Hollande of France in drawing global attention to reviving the Lake Chad Basin,” and for galvanizing the political will that led to the global consensus in reaching the Paris Agreement.

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The Nigerian President said his country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement is articulated through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) “that strive to build a climate resilient society across the diverse terrain of Nigeria. We have instituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change to govern implementation of my country’s NDCs, thereby ensuring a strong cross-sectoral approach, coherence and synergy for Climate Action.”

President Buhari, while admitting that implementing the Roadmap will not be easy in the face of dwindling national revenues, however, indicated that both internal and external resources would be mobilized to meet Nigeria’s targets, adding that the 2017 Budget will reflect Nigeria’s efforts to accord priority to realizing its NDCs.

“In addition, we are set to launch our first ever Green Bonds in the first quarter of 2017 to fund a pipeline of projects all targeted at reducing emissions towards a greener economy,” he said.

Expectations

While urging global support to transit to a low-carbon climate resilient economy, the President specifically reminded industrialized nations “to play their role and deliver on their commitments on access to climate finance and technology transfer and help with capacity-building”.

He added: “Expectations are high for their leaders to deliver US$100 billion per year by 2020 in support of developing countries to take climate action, thus keeping the promise to billions of people.”

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President Buhari, who thanked the Presidents of Chad, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger for attending the event, also called on the international community to “give special recognition to the plight of Lake Chad and support our effort to resuscitate the livelihoods of over 5 million people in the region.

“This will reinforce our efforts to reintegrate the thousands of Boko Haram victims and returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).”

The President noted that the Niger Delta region is a unique biodiversity-rich coastal environment that is highly prone to adverse environmental changes occasioned by climate change, such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, exacerbated by poverty and many decades of oil pollution leading to loss of livelihoods and ecosystems.

He added however, that “through an integrated approach, implementation of the NDCs, and our efforts to clean up Ogoniland, we will improve livelihoods, protect the environment and take climate action, and ensure the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Buhari Hails France, Switzerland Relations With Nigeria

Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari and Francois Hollande of France and Switzerland Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday applauded the long history of economic relationship between his country and France on the one hand, and Nigeria and Switzerland on the other.

At separate bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the ongoing 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States of America, the Nigerian leader welcomed more investment and economic partnerships.

“Nigeria is a fertile ground for handsome return on investments.

“Apart from your country’s close relationship with us, you have the same with most of our neighbours.

“We seek more collaboration, particularly in agriculture, mining and security,” President Buhari told Francois Hollande of France.

A spokesman for President Buhari, Femi Adesina, said that the President further briefed his French counterpart on the Presidential Committee on the North East, which he described as a one-stop mechanism on development partnership for a zone that had been ravaged in the over six years of insurgency by Boko Haram insurgents, and which needed urgent rebuilding.

Responding, President Hollande pledged that France would not only fully engage with Nigeria on different fronts, but would also provide humanitarian assistance in the North East.

“We will invest in Nigeria, we believe in her,” the French President said.
At another meeting with President Johann Schneider-Ammann of Switzerland, President Buhari sought his counterpart’s cooperation on speedy repatriation of Nigeria’s money stashed in that country, stressing that Nigeria needed such resources, particularly for infrastructure.

With the two countries having agreed on projects to which the returned funds would be deployed, President Schneider-Ammann promised quick action, as soon as the draft agreement was signed.

He also pledged consolidation of mutual trade relationships, infrastructural development as well as support in training and equipping of the Nigerian military.

France Railway Workers Strike

Railway workersThe labour dispute in France is intensifying as railway workers are joining other unions to down tools in protest against planned labour reforms.

This is expected to further disrupt a transport network already suffering from a shortage of fuel.

However, President Francois Hollande has vowed not back down over the reforms, which aim to make it easier to hire and fire employees.

Meanwhile, public sector workers in neighbouring Belgium are also going on strike on Tuesday over budget cuts.

The national strike there will see police officers, teachers and some civil servants join train drivers and prison guards, who are already on strike.

As well as budget cutbacks, the unions are protesting against changes to working hours and a rise in the retirement age.

French Female Ministers Rise Against Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment, French Ministers, Female MinistersSeventeen women who have served as ministers in France have signed a declaration against sexual harassment in politics, saying they will no longer be silent about the issue.

Among the 17 signatories to the declaration, who are current or former ministers, is the head of the International Monetary Fund and France’s former Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde.

The declarations read, “Like all women who have entered spheres that up until then were exclusively male, we have had to fight against sexism.

“It is not for women to have to adapt to these places, but for the behaviour of certain men to change.”

The women further said in the declaration, “We encourage all victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault to talk and complain. We ask our parties and our political groups to verify if such acts were committed and if that was the case, to help the victims to get to the truth.”

Last week, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Denis Baupin, resigned over sexual harassment claims, which he denies.

Examples of some of the sexual harassment suffered by the women are also given in the article.

It explains that Fleur Pellerin, who was Culture Minister in Francois Hollande’s government from 2014 until this February 2016, rarely suffered harassment until she was appointed to office.

After her first appointment in government, she was asked by a male journalist if she was given the job because she is a beautiful woman.

Lake Chad Basin Commission To Uphold Security Summit Recommendations

Lake-Chad-Basin-Commission-SummitA second Regional Security Summit of countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and their foreign allies has come to an end, with the Heads of State and government pledging to uphold the recommendations.

Heads of State of Republic of Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Equatorial Guinea, met on Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital with the French President, Francois Hollande, and held talks that would strengthen efforts to kick the Boko Haram out of the region.

The Summit ended with a resounding call on member states to consolidate the gains already made against the Boko Haram terrorist group in the region since the first similar summit was held in Paris in 2014.

Presenting the recommendations of the summit to the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, stressed the need for funding of the Multi-National Joint Task Force.

Stabilising Lives Of Returnees

The document put together after series of security experts meetings that started on Thursday also recommendeds that member states should re-double their efforts to ensure the release of the adopted Chibok girls.

The host, President Muhamadu Buhari, reiterated the commitment of his administration to ridding the last vestige of Boko Haram from the region and also ensure the safe rescue of the Chibok girls.

Lake-Chad-Basin-Commission-Summit2
President Hollande, former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and President Buhari having a chat on the sideline of the Summit

Addressing the gathering in French, both the President of France and presidents of member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission pledge their support for the recommendations of the summit.

Meanwhile, both the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the United Kingdom, Philip Hammond, and the United States Deputy Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, present at the meeting urge governments of the region to work at stabilising lives of returnees in the liberated communities.

Mr Hammond also held talks with President Buhari focused on economic development, anti-corruption and security support to tackle Boko Haram.

Having recorded much success in the counter insurgency crusade in the region, citizens from member countries and especially Nigeria hope that the meeting will not only help to stamp out insurgency from the region but also lead to the rescue of the Chibok girls.

The girls were abducted from their schools dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, on April 14, 2014.

A latest video of the girls was released on April 13 by the terrorists group pushing for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the region.

Brewing Insecurity

While the troops have continued to increase counter-terrorism operations in the north-east, another level of insecurity is brewing in different states of the nation – herdsmen attacking communities.

They have killed scores of recent and President Buhari has ordered security forces to tackle the increasing threat to lives of farmers and communities.

The President also gave an assurance that he would fish out the herdsmen attacking communities.

He had linked the arms proliferation by herders to the crisis in Libya and the training of some personnel in the Sahel by Gaddafi.

There have been insinuations that the herders were armed bandits fleeing the northeast in the heat of counter-terrorism operations, but Mr Onyeama, had asked citizens to desist from linking recent attacks by cattle herdsmen to the Boko Haram insurgents.

Mr Onyeama stressed on Friday that there was no evidence available to security operatives suggest any linkages.

Regional Security Summit Commences In Abuja

Security SummitNigeria is hosting the second regional security meeting in Abuja to consolidate efforts for regional peace and development. The summit has commenced.

The Multi-National Joint Task Force Commander has drawn the attention of member states to the need for improved allowances for the troops and purchase of equipment for detecting and destroying IEDs.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission is asking member states to begin to fix attention on developmental programmes which will address the root causes of insecurity in the region.

Saturday is for the presentation of the recommendations from the series of meetings they will be holding to the leaders of member states.

Discussions at the Summit will focus on intelligence on the location and rescue of the over 200 abducted Chibok girls and an implementable action plan for the joint fight against insurgency in the African region.

Presidents of four member countries of the Lake Chad Basin will be attending the Summit as well as representatives of other neighbouring African countries, the European Union, the United States and the British government.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Lolo Bulus, said that the Summit is sequel to the Security Summit in Paris.

President Buhari To Host Security Summit

security summit, President BuhariNigeria will host the second regional security summit in Abuja as part of efforts by the federal government to boost the security of lives and properties.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the summit will attract leaders from across the globe including French President, Francois Hollande who hosted the first regional security summit in Paris on May 17, 2014.

President Muhammadu Buhari and the French President who is scheduled to arrive in Abuja on Friday will be joined at the summit by the presidents of Cameroon, Niger Republic, Chad and Benin Republic.

The United States, Britain, Equatorial Guinea, the European Union, Ecowas, the Economic Community of Central African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission will also be represented at the summit.

The summit will have the successful conclusion of ongoing military operations against Boko Haram at the top of its agenda.

Agreements on further defence and cultural cooperation between Nigeria and France are expected to be concluded between the two presidents.

At Least 23 Killed In Burkina Faso Hotel

Burkina-FasoAt least 23 people have died after Islamist gunmen stormed a hotel in Burkina Faso’s Capital.

Reports said that the siege was over after at least 150 hostages were freed at Ouagadougou’s luxury splendid hotel.

Gunmen stormed the hotel and a nearby cafe after setting off bombs.

Four of the attackers were killed, two of them reportedly women.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said that it carried out the attack which killed citizens of 18 different nationalities in the West African nation.

French President, Francois Hollande, whose forces were part of the operation against the militants, condemned the attack while describing it as “odious and cowardly”.

Saraki Lobbies French Parliament On Boko Haram

SarakiNigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has called on the French government to be more decisive in supporting the war against terrorism, particularly the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-eastern part of Nigeria and neighbouring former French-colonies in West Africa.

Senator Saraki made this call during a two-hour bilateral meeting with the President of the French Senate, Gerard Larcher, at the on-going COP 21 Globe Parliamentary meeting in Paris.

He urged French parliamentarians to push for more support for the Nigerian government towards resolving the Boko Haram crisis which he said poses grave danger to French strategic interests in West Africa.

He noted that France could intervene by sharing vital intelligence with Nigerian Defence authorities and providing manpower as well as material support so that the insurgents would be overwhelmed and defeated in a short time.

While commiserating with the French people on the recent terrorist attack in the country, Senator Saraki also solicited for the help of France in assisting the over 2 million internally displaced people in North Eastern Nigeria.

Buhari Commits To 20% Emissions Cut At Conference Of Parties 21

Buhari President Muhammadu Buhari has announced Nigeria’s Intended National Determined Contributions, committing to emissions cut of 20 per cent. 

At the ongoing Conference of Parties 21 on Climate Change in Paris, President Buhari on Monday explained that Nigeria would meet this goal by making more use of natural gas and climate smart agriculture.

“There will also be more focus on energy efficiency measures and investment in renewable energy,” the Nigerian leader told the conference.

Providing Climate Finance

He asked developed countries to honour their promises in relation to providing climate finance to help developing countries including Nigeria adapt to and mitigate climate change.

President Buhari insisted that there must be constant review and monitor of The Paris Agreement, which he stressed must be legally binding and result orientated.

The Nigerian President is one of the 150 world leaders at the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) on climate change.

President  Buhari is expected to also later in the day participate in the launching of the International Solar Alliance, an initiative of Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The alliance, which is code-named the International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (INSPA), comprises all African nations located within the tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn.

President Buhari will on Tuesday, also participate in the summit of the heads of state and government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin Republic which would dwell on Boko Haram and other issues on security.

He will also attend another event of the African Union, AU, tilted “Conference on Climate Change and African Solutions”.

Meanwhile, French authorities have elevated security level in the cities ahead of the meeting to prevent any eventuality.

The measure follows the recent devastating terror attacks in the capital city.