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Envoy calls for urgent aid for Afghanistan

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At UN, China says humanitarian assistance should not be conditional

China’s ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday called for countries to address Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation and stabilize its economy as soon as possible.

“The current situation in Afghanistan is at a critical stage, facing multiple arduous and complex challenges,” Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the UN, said in explaining China’s vote for the Security Council draft resolution on humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country.

“The most important task is to help Afghanistan mitigate the humanitarian crisis the soonest and to stabilize and restore the economy,” he said.

“As a friendly neighbor of Afghanistan, China has always been most concerned about its well-being and has been actively taking actions to help the Afghan people.”

He noted that because of international sanctions, some international humanitarian agencies are not sure whether they can continue to provide assistance to Afghanistan.

“Such doubts are unnecessary because humanitarian aid should not be conditional, nor should it be politicized under any circumstances,” Zhang said. “The sanctions by the Security Council only target certain individuals and entities, not the Afghan people at large.

“Nevertheless, as long as the appropriate actions of the Security Council help to clarify doubts and facilitate the timely, smooth and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, China will certainly look at them favorably.”

However, Zhang pointed out that the original draft resolution deviated from the right track.

“Not only does it not facilitate humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, it even adds to the obstacles,” he said. “The original draft posits that only those aid activities carried out within a certain period will not violate the Security Council sanctions. It also sets up an onerous reporting mechanism for humanitarian aid agencies and incorporates many other irrelevant propositions that may restrict economic cooperation with Afghanistan.”

Zhang said that any action of the Security Council should genuinely promote and facilitate humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, instead of setting artificial restrictions and conditions.

The envoy emphasized that the provision that humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan will not violate the Security Council resolutions only if it falls within the time limits is legally, politically and logically problematic.

“It has been China’s conviction that humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan should stick to the right track and direction. To this end, China has been constructively engaged in the consultations and put forward specific amendments,” Zhang said.

“We are glad to see that the final draft has reflected the views of China and clarified the key issues.”

The resolution notes in explicit terms that the intention is to provide clarity to ensure the continued provision of assistance in the future, that humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan are not a violation of the sanctions resolution of the Security Council, Zhang said.

“With the adoption of this resolution, the confusion on and the obstacles to continuing the humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan can be cleared away once and for all,” he said.

Zhang said the UN’s appeal for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan for next year has reached a historical high of $4.5 billion, but that there is great uncertainty about how much of that will materialize.

“We call on the international community, especially major donors, to step up assistance by actively providing financial support. The countries that caused the current crisis in Afghanistan are more obliged than others to take the lead and assume the primary responsibilities,” he said.

He said Afghanistan’s economy is seriously short of liquidity and on the verge of collapse.

“China will continue to promote the export of Afghanistan’s agricultural products to China and play a greater role in helping Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction with concrete actions,” said Zhang.

The Security Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted the draft resolution on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

 

By MINLU ZHANG in New York | China Daily 

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Malaysian company expresses interest to manage drug rehab centre

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Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusaan has revealed a Malaysian company has expressed interest to establish and operate a drug rehabilitation centre in the Maldives.

Speaking in an exclusive interview to PSM News, Minister Ihusaan stated the Malaysian company which expressed interest to establish and manage a drug rehabilitation centre in Maldives is a multinational company which operates several rehabilitation facilities worldwide. The minister disclosed the company had submitted a proposal expressing interest in the development and operation of a rehabilitation centre, adding that the proposal was submitted at a substantial expense. He revealed that efforts are underway to hold discussions on the proposal and to review other options that ensure the provision of rehabilitation services.

The government opened opportunities for private firms to establish and operate rehabilitation centres for drug addicts in January. The opportunity was in accordance to the Drug Act. Minister Ihusaan expressed confidence that the opportunities given to private firms would increase competitiveness in providing efficient and quality services, therefore providing mutual benefits. The minister hopes that private enterprises will commence offering services in the nation in the near future.

Rehabilitation centres established under the opportunity given by the National Drug Agency (NDA) are to provide a wide range of services to provide treatment to drug addicts. This includes outpatient detoxification services, psychiatric evaluation, counselling services, psychosocial therapy, drug testing and psychological assessments.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Met Maldives predicts heavy rain through Monday

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The Maldives Meteorological Service (MMS) has forecasted heavy rain showers across most parts of the Maldives through June 24. Central and northern atolls are expected to experience significant rainfall and rough seas, while islands in the southern atolls will mostly enjoy fine weather with scattered showers and generally slight seas.

In response to the adverse weather conditions, MMS has issued several alerts, including a recent one for heavy rain and thunderstorms from Haa Alifu Atoll to Baa Atoll. The forecast predicts strong winds ranging from 19-24 miles per hour, with gusts reaching up to 50 miles per hour, resulting in rough sea conditions.

Over the past 24 hours, the Maldives has seen heavy rainfall, with Gaafaru Island in Kaafu Atoll recording the highest amount at 67.6 millimeters. Goidhoo Island in Baa Atoll also experienced significant rainfall, recording 49.4 millimeters.

MMS advises seafarers in the central and northern atolls to exercise caution due to the severe weather conditions. For the next three days, strong winds of 12-22 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, are predicted across the country. The showers are expected to subside by Monday, but strong winds are likely to continue into Tuesday and Wednesday.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Tourism minister announces development plans for abandoned resorts

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Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal has announced strategic decisions to expedite the development of abandoned islands leased for resort development.

In an exclusive interview with PSM News, Minister Faisal revealed that the Economic Council has approved two key measures from a proposal aimed at accelerating the development of these islands.

One approved measure involves reclaiming the islands that have seen no development activity, returning them to the state without any conditions. The tourism ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) to negotiate concessions on the substantial fees owed by lessees to the state.

The second measure focuses on finding solutions for islands where development has stalled due to various issues. The tourism ministry will assist in securing the necessary funds or facilitate the sale of these islands to new developers.

The tourism minister emphasised that accelerating the development of these islands will require legal adjustments. He noted that the state incurs significant financial losses when leased islands remain undeveloped.

According to the ministry’s statistics, there are 63 islands leased for resort development that have yet to be developed. Some of these islands have been leased for over 30 years.

The minister also highlighted that more islands will be developed and opened as resorts during this tenure. He projected that 12 to 15 new resorts will be opened over the next five years.

Source(s): PsmNews

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