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Pompeo to tour Middle East as part of Trump’s Arab-Israeli push | Israel News

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due in Jerusalem on Monday to start a regional tour expected to focus on Israel’s normalisation of ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and pushing other Arab states to follow suit.

After meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo is set to later in the week visit senior figures in Sudan, Bahrain and the UAE, the US State Department said in a statement on Sunday.

He will be followed to many of these destinations by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, according to reports citing diplomats. Officials said stops in Oman and Qatar are also possible.

The US-sponsored deal between Israel and the UAE that was announced on August 13 was denounced by the Palestinians as a “betrayal” of their cause. It was only the third such accord Israel has struck with an Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan.

The two new partners have since said they want to promote trade, especially the sale of Emirati oil to Israel and Israeli technology to the UAE, as well as boosting tourism by establishing direct air links.

Key to that plan would be persuading Saudi Arabia to open its airspace to Israeli commercial airlines.

Hamas: Israel-UAE deal a ‘stab in back of Palestinians’

During his visit to Israel, Pompeo will also “discuss regional security issues related to Iran’s malicious influence [and] establishing and deepening Israel’s relationships in the region”, the State Department said in the statement.

The surprise announcement of the Israel-Emirati pact sparked huge speculation on who might be next, with frequent mentions of Bahrain and Sudan.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman was fired last week after he made allegedly unauthorised comments indicating contact had been made with Israel regarding normalising ties.

But the State Department said Pompeo would meet Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok during his tour to “express support for deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship”.

He will also meet Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa before meeting UAE foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to discuss the Israel deal, it said.

Saudi Arabia, in keeping with decades of policy by the majority of Arab states, has said it will not follow the UAE’s example until Israel has signed a peace deal with the Palestinians.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Mudoma to Replace Ministerial Positions with Commissions in Bugisu Cultural Institution

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Jude Mike Mudoma, one of the elected leaders of the Bugisu Cultural Institution (Inzu Ya Masaaba) has announced he will scrap off all ministerial positions and replace them with Commissions immediately after being gazetted as the next Umukuuka.

Following endless wrangles on the rightful next Umukuuka of Bamasaaba between two conflicting factions; one affiliated to the former cultural leader Bob Mushikori and another to the Chairman of the Board Stephen Mungoma, Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Gender, Labor and social development instructed them to reconcile and come up with one leader.

Tumwebaze ordered the two elected leaders; Mudoma of Mungoma’s side and John Amram Wagabyalire of Mushikori’s to hold roundtable discussions and decide on one leader whose name should be forwarded to the Ministry for gazettement.

However, Mudoma has come out to declare he is the rightful Umukuuka and the likely winner in this reconciliation drive.

Addressing journalists on Sunday, Mudoma said he plans to scrap off what he called redundant and dormant ministerial positions and replace them with commissions, “which will serve the people appropriately.”

“I am going to create 24 commissions and do away with the system of ministers, in the last regime they have been having 72 ministers in an institution where there is no money,” he said.

These Commissions, he said, are going to create “super human resource” and develop a working module.

“For example, Bugisu Coffee/Cotton Commission will organize Bamasaaba for growing high quality coffee and quantities which will lead to better market. This way, we shall have improved on social economic development of our people than appointing someone as a minister but they don’t have anything lined up for the people,” Mudoma said.

On optimism of becoming the next leader, Mudoma said he is the true elected Umukuuka according to the Laws governing the cultural institutions and the Inzu Ya Masaaba constitution because he followed all procedures “and the government should gazette me so I can start serving my people.”

“The Committee of the General Assembly made a consultation with all the Bamasaaba clans and a list of individuals with their qualifications was compiled. The list was then presented to the cultural council, the candidates were shortlisted and their names submitted to the general assembly for elections where I emerged the winner,” he said.

He told journalists that he was personally surprised to hear that another faction also emerged led by Wepondi after three months in office and even went ahead to elect Wagabyalire, “which has brought all these fights but I am the rightful Umukuuka III who started from grassroot up to General Assembly but I think politics has entered in our IYM issues,” he said.

The post Mudoma to Replace Ministerial Positions with Commissions in Bugisu Cultural Institution first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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‘Unprovoked escalation’: US slams Russian plan to block Black Sea | Russia News

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US state department says the move is part of ongoing campaign to destabilise Ukraine amid Russian troop build-up in the region.

The US State Department has branded as an “unprovoked escalation” reported Russian plans to block parts of the Black Sea, which could ultimately impact access to Ukrainian ports amid heightened tensions over Moscow’s military manoeuvres.

The US and its European allies have expressed concerns regarding Russia’s military build-up in recent weeks and fear Moscow might be planning to invade Ukraine. Russia, which backs separatists in eastern Ukraine, annexed Crimea in 2014.

Russian state media have reported that Moscow intends to close parts of the Black Sea to foreign military and official ships for six months, which could affect access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait.

Russia has temporarily restricted the movement of foreign warships and what it called “other state ships” near Crimea.

“This represents yet another unprovoked escalation in Moscow’s ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilise Ukraine,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

“This development is particularly troubling amid credible reports of Russian troop buildup in occupied Crimea and around Ukraine’s borders, now at levels not seen since Russia’s invasion in 2014,” he added.

Sanctions

Last week, Washington slapped sanctions on Russia and expelled its ambassadors over Moscow’s interference in last year’s US presidential election, cyber-hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged “malign” actions.

Days later, Russia expelled US diplomats in a tit-for-tat move.

Ukraine and Russia have traded blame over a spike in violence in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed separatist forces in a conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014.

The US Federal Aviation Administration on Monday urged airlines to exercise “extreme caution” when flying near the Ukraine-Russian border, citing potential flight safety risks.

EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Monday that more than 100,000 Russian troops have amassed on Ukraine’s border and in annexed Crimea.

He said no new economic sanctions or expulsions of Russian diplomats were planned for the time being.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, after addressing EU foreign ministers, called on the EU to impose new sanctions on Russia.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Revenue Mobilisation Through Tax Transparency: Lessons from Uganda’s Transformative Journey

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By John Rujoki Musinguzi, Commissioner General- Uganda Revenue Authority, Mary Baine, Director – Tax Programmes, African Tax Administration Forum, Zayda Manatta, Head of the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, and Marcello Estevão, Global Director, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment, World Bank Group

Uganda has significantly strengthened its tax transparency and tax capacity in just a few years to mobilise more domestic resources to finance sustainable development. Moreover, the country has taken significant steps to tackle illicit financial flows by implementing global transparency and information exchange standards. The results have been impressive: USD 26 million in additional revenue has been identified since 2014 through audits and exchange of information, USD 22 million of which has already been paid to government coffers.

The case study on Uganda published today shows how tax transparency can help developing countries strengthen their tax and resource mobilisation capacities to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s 2063 Agenda. It also shows that Uganda’s successful journey is the result of strong political and administrative commitment, clear strategy, and coordinated and steady support from development partners.

To fight against tax evasion, Uganda joined the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum) in 2012. In doing so, Uganda included exchange of information as a key component of its domestic resource mobilisation strategy to improve compliance of both multinational enterprises (MNEs) and individuals, including ones with high-net-worth. In 2016, Uganda also became a party to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, the most powerful multilateral instrument for tax co-operation, with over 140 participating jurisdictions.

Partnerships also played a significant role. By partnering with the Global Forum, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the OECD, and the World Bank Group (WBG), Uganda was able to accelerate its transformation. These partnerships supported much-needed reforms, and helped develop technical capacities through skills and knowledge transfer.

Furthermore, since 2016 transfer pricing experts from ATAF, the WBG and the Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) initiative have been working alongside Ugandan officials on audit cases in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture (commodity exporters), banking, and telecommunications. This has helped Uganda collect additional tax of nearly USD 125 million including approximately USD 26 million from just one audit case.

Exchange of information, which strengthens the audits and investigations, is now routinely used in Uganda’s national tax compliance programme. As a result, the number of requests for information made by Uganda’s authorities jumped from two in 2012 to 69 between 2014 and 2019.

Encouraged by these positive outcomes, Uganda has embarked on implementing automatic exchange of financial account information by 2023 with the support of the Global Forum. The country’s revenue authorities will then automatically receive information on financial accounts held by Ugandan residents in offshore financial institutions on a yearly basis. This should increase tax compliance and help better tackle tax evasion and other illicit financial flows.

Uganda is an effective regional player and a proponent of the tax transparency agenda in Africa. It was one of the first signatories of the Yaoundé Declaration, which is now supported by 30 African countries and the African Union Commission.

Uganda’s transformative journey paves the way for other developing countries and emphasises the need for a swift transition from political commitment to practical application. Uganda’s experience shows the importance of a multi-faceted and coordinated approach involving regional and international organisations to support developing countries’ commitment to the tax transparency agenda.

The post Revenue Mobilisation Through Tax Transparency: Lessons from Uganda’s Transformative Journey first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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