Venezuela’s president on Monday denounced international sanctions against his country, saying they have limited the government’s ability to fight the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
In his speech at a virtual session of the UN Human Rights Council, Nicolas Maduro repudiated the more than 450 unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and European Union on Venezuela, arguing they have stripped the government of at least US$30 billion in oil revenues, finanicial resources that could have been used to fight the pandemic.
He added that the sanctions are not only illegal but also the cause of the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in the South American nation.
Georgia's new premier, cabinet win confidence vote
Georgia’s parliament voted Monday to approve new Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and the cabinet he put forward.Garibashvili's government won a vote of confidence with 89 votes cast by lawmakers from the ruling Georgian Dream party.Garibashvili had served as defense minister in former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia's cabinet since 2019, as interior minister from 2012-2013 and as prime minister from 2013-2015.Only the regional development and infrastructure minister has changed in the new cabinet.Most of the opposition parties do not accept the results of a general election held on Oct. 31, 2020, demanding a reorganization of the polls.UN envoy for Libya calls for compliance with cease-fireUS sanctions two Myanmar generals over protest responseThe seven parties that passed the election threshold and qualified to enter parliament are boycotting the parliamentary sessions.- Resignation of Prime Minister GakhariaGakharia announced his resignation last Thursday.He told reporters in the capital Tbilisi that he quit due to differences of opinion with his team on an arrest warrant issued for Nika Melia, the head of the main opposition United National Movement, who is accused of organizing “mass violence” during anti-government protests in 2019.Criticizing the decision to arrest the opposition leader, Gakharia said it will further fuel political tensions in the country.The Georgian Interior Ministry announced that the operation to arrest Melia was temporarily postponed after Gakharia’s resignation.Other opposition parties had also criticized the court order to arrest Melia.DRC president urges justice for murder of Italian envoyItalian FM holds phone call with DRC counterpart
UN envoy for Libya calls for compliance with cease-fire
A UN official has called on all parties in Libya to comply with a cease-fire agreement signed last year, according to a statement issued Monday by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).Jan Kubis, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for Libya and head of UNSMIL, held talks with the parties in the country for a week and advised them to implement UN resolutions, including the expulsion of foreign powers and mercenaries.The statement emphasized that Kubis will continue to support efforts to reach the constitutional-based agreement necessary for holding elections in December 2021.Delegations of Libya’s warring parties signed a permanent cease-fire agreement last October in Geneva for a truce with immediate effect in all areas of the country.During his visit to Libya, Kubis met with the president of the Tobruk House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, on Feb. 17 and the leader of the illegitimate armed forces in the east of the country, Khalifa Haftar, on Feb. 19.In his statement last Saturday, Kubis had said that he would continue to support Mohammad Younes Menfi, who was elected president of Libya’s interim government, and Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah the prime minister.Dbeibah, who will serve as prime minister until presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24, is expected to form his cabinet by Feb. 26 at the latest and present it to the House of Representatives to receive a vote of confidence.
However, he assured the Council that Venezuela is successfully controlling the effects of the pandemic thanks to the social protections offered by his government as well as its free health care system.
On Sunday, Maduro announced four new COVID-19 related deaths and 465 new cases in Venezuela, taking the total number of fatalities in the country to 1,316 and the total number of infections to 136,068.
He said the country currently has 6,664 active cases, or 20 per every 100,000 citizens, and that his goal is to lower the number of cases to just 10 per 100,000 citizens.
This week, the Venezuelan government will start its vaccination campaign after receiving 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine last week.
Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said Sunday that these vaccines show that “despite the blockage, the country is addressing the pandemic efficiently and rapidly.”
US sanctions two Myanmar generals over protest response
The US Treasury Department said Monday it has sanctioned two generals in response to the killing by Myanmar security forces of peaceful protesters.Those designated are Lieutenant General Moe Myint Tun and General Maung Maung Kyaw, who are members of the State Administrative Council (SAC), which the military established to rule the country after seizing power from the elected government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi."We condemn the security forces’ brutal attacks on unarmed protesters which resulted in four deaths and injured over 40 individuals," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.Blinken said the US stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and warned Myanmar of "further action against those who perpetrate violence and suppress the will of the people.""We call on the military and police to cease all attacks on peaceful protesters, immediately release all those unjustly detained, stop attacks on and intimidation of journalists and activists, and restore the democratically elected government," said Blinken.The country has seen large protests since the military declared a state of emergency on Feb. 1.DRC president urges justice for murder of Italian envoyItalian FM holds phone call with DRC counterpartAnnual NATO drill gets underway in Italy
DRC president urges justice for murder of Italian envoy
The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said late Monday he is appalled by the assassination of Italy’s ambassador, Luca Attanasio, and two other people in an attack on a World Food Program (WFP) convoy in the country.Felix Tshisekedi condemned the "heinous acts” perpetrated in Kibumba near Goma in North Kivu province and instructed the relevant services to shed light on the incident so the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.He offered his sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the president of the Republic of Italy and the WFP as well as to the entire accredited diplomatic corps in the Central African country.The UN World Food Program expressed its “deepest sympathy and condolences” to the families, colleagues and friends of the three victims.The organization said its delegation was on a field visit in the Democratic Republic of Congo, adding a number of other passengers were also injured in the attack.The delegation had departed from Goma to visit a WFP school feeding program in Rutshuru when the incident took place, the WFP said.Italy's Foreign Ministry confirmed the killing of Attanasio and an Italian Carabinieri officer, Vittorio Iacovacci. Their Congolese WFP driver – whose name has not been released -- was also killed in the ambush.Several rebel groups in eastern DRC have been attacking, killing and kidnapping civilians in eastern DRC for several decades.The illicit exploitation of natural resources continues to be a root cause and driver of conflict in the east of the country, according to the UN.Most of the militia groups have set aside their political demands and are involved in mineral trafficking.