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China warned against ”clear, serious” violation of treaty with UK

The Foreign Office said: “There are 349,881 holders of BN(O) passports and the government estimates there are around 2.9m BN(O)s currently in Hong Kong. The scheme is for eligible BN(O) status holders and their immediate family dependants.”

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Boris Johnson

London, July 2 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said China’s imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong constituted a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984 and aimed at smoothing the transition when the territory was handed back to Beijing in 1997.

The UK believes that Beijing’s move violates HongKong’s autonomy, threatens the freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration, and is in direct conflict with the territory”s Basic Law, its mini-constitution.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Johnson said: “We have made clear that if China continued down this path, we would introduce a new route to those with British National (Overseas) status to enter the UK granting them limited leave to remain with the ability to live and work in the UK and thereafter to apply for citizenship, and that is precisely what we will do now.”

Describing the Chinese move as “a grave and deeply disturbing step”, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab promised that UK would honour its commitment to the people of Hong Kong.

“We will grant BN(O)s five years” limited leave to remain, with the right to work or study. After these five years, they will be able to apply for settled status.

“After further 12 months with settled status, they will be able to apply for citizenship. This is a special, bespoke, set of arrangements developed for the unique circumstances we face,” Raab told MPs.

Raab did not set out any plan to sanction China or individual Chinese officials through new legislation due to be introduced by the Foreign Office this month.

He also said he was hopeful that other countries in south-east Asia would also offer asylum to Hong Kong citizens wanting to leave.

“China has broken its promise to the people of Hong Kong under its own laws. China has breached its international obligations to the UK under the joint declaration.”

Hong Kong’s autonomy, which now faces threat from Beijing’s imposition of a new security laws, was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement of the 1984 joint declaration signed by the then Chinese premier, Zhao Ziyang, and British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

The Foreign Office said: “There are 349,881 holders of BN(O) passports and the government estimates there are around 2.9m BN(O)s currently in Hong Kong. The scheme is for eligible BN(O) status holders and their immediate family dependants.”

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Pompeo, Taliban deputy leader discuss intra-Afghan talks

The prisoners in question were named on a 5,000-member list given to the government by the Taliban.

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Kabul, Aug 4 : US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Talibans deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar discussed the much-awaited intra-Afghan talks and the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, a spokesman of the group said.

The talks took place on Monday via video conference.

“Both sides talked about the inception of intra-Afghan negotiations and the status quo emphasizing that release of the remaining prisoners are essential for commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations,” Khaame Press quoted spokesman Suhail Shaheen as saying.

“The Secretary of State also welcomed announcement of ceasefire by the Islamic Emirate on the eve of the current Eid.”

This comes as the both the Afghan government and Taliban have released hundreds of prisoners following the signing of peace deal between Washington and Taliban earlier this year.

Meanwhile, senior government official said on Monday that Afghan government is convening the consultative Loya Jirga, the grand assembly of Afghan elders and representatives, to find a consensus on the decision to release the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners who are accused of crimes including murder, drug trafficking and abduction, TOLO News reported.

The prisoners in question were named on a 5,000-member list given to the government by the Taliban.

The Afghan government has so far released 4,600 prisoners on this list but has refrained from releasing the remaining 400.

At least 3,200 people will attend the Jirga, according to presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

The prisoners, he said, are accused of murder and also for abduction, as well as other crimes.

The Afghan government has not made public any further details about the Jirga and its committees or its duration.

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Saudi Arabia concludes Hajj amid COVID-19 pandemic

This season is only limited to domestic pilgrims who are residents and citizens living in Saudi Arabia.

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Haj Social Distancing

Riyadh: Pilgrims on Monday bade farewell to Mecca after Hajj rituals were concluded, Xinhua news agency reported.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque had provided all relevant facilities for the pilgrims while ensuring precautionary measures against COVID-19.

The kingdom has organized an exceptional Hajj season with a limited number of pilgrims amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This season is only limited to domestic pilgrims who are residents and citizens living in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry announced on Monday 1,258 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the accumulated infections to 280,093.

The total recovered cases rose to 242,053 with the registration of 1,972 newly recovered cases.

The total death toll reached 2,949 with 32 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours.

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UNSC to focus on counter-terrorism issues in August

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country on earth after China, India, and the US, has been elected four times as non-permanent member to the Security Council.

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United Nations, Aug 4 : UN Security Council (UNSC) is expected to have focus on counter-terrorism issues in August, it was reported.

The Council will hold a ministerial-level open debate on “the linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime” on Thursday, Dian Triansyah Djani, permanent representative of Indonesia to the UN and president of the Council for the month of August, said at a virtual press conference on the Council’s program of work on Monday.

There will also be a briefing on Secretary-Gneral’s biannual strategic-level report on the threat posed by the Islamic State terror group on August 24, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Council’s other open debate is “pandemics and the challenges to peacebuilding and sustaining peace”.

The likely briefers include Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sarah Cliffe, director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, according to the program of work.

Several regular Middle East meetings are on the program of work as well.

There will be the three monthly Syria meetings: open and closed video-conferences on the political and humanitarian situation and a closed VTC on the use of chemical weapons.

The monthly meetings on developments in Yemen and on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question, are also planned in both open and closed format.

In addition, the Council will meet for a briefing on recent developments in Iraq and on the two latest secretary-general’s reports, on the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq and on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives.

Meetings in open and closed format are also planned ahead of adoptions to renew the UN missions in Lebanon and Somalia.

An adoption is also expected to renew the Mali sanctions regime, as well as the mandate of its Panel of Experts.

The Council will be briefed on the latest secretary-general’s report on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau, as well as developments in the country following the post-electoral crisis earlier in the year.

Council members may also participate in a “virtual visiting mission” to meet with key stakeholders in Somalia ahead of the adoption, according to the Security Council Report (SCR), whose mission is to advance the transparency and effectiveness of the Council.

The Council will be watching developments in Burundi, Iran, Libya, Myanmar and Sudan, as well as those related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and additional meetings may be added as necessary, the SCR said.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country on earth after China, India, and the US, has been elected four times as non-permanent member to the Security Council.

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