Tinubu inaugurates 6th ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja  – Newstrends
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Tinubu inaugurates 6th ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja 

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Tinubu inaugurates 6th ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja 

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday inaugurated the sixth Legislature of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament in Abuja.
The ECOWAS Parliament is one of the institutions of ECOWAS established by the ECOWAS Treaty of May 28, 1975, signed in Lagos, Nigeria.
The treaty was revised in July 1993 and signed in Abidjan and it is what is currently in use.
In inaugurating the parliament, President Tinubu performed this duty as the current chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments.
The inauguration at the International Conference Centre Abuja was attended by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Deputy Senate President.

Other are Senator Barau Jibrin, representatives of parliamentarians of other ECOWAS countries, diplomats and top government officials.
Deputy Senate President Barau and Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan (PDP- Kogi Central) were among legislators from the West African sub-region that took their oaths of office as members of the sixth legislature of the ECOWAS parliament during the opening session.

Akpabio transmitted the list of the Nigerian delegation to the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.
The leader of the Nigerian delegation to the 6th ECOWAS Parliament is the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin.

ECOWAS Parliament comprises 115 members, drawn from the 15-member states of which Nigeria is one.

Nigeria has been allotted 35 slots (17 senators and 18 honourable members), followed by Ghana with eight seats. Côte d’Ivoire is has seven seats, while Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Senegal have six seats each.

The tenure of office for members is four years beginning from the date of inauguration.

International

Israel denounces ICC actions, seeks global allies support

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel denounces ICC actions, seeks global allies support

Israel has called on “nations of the civilised world” to refuse to comply with any International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants issued against its leaders.

Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the ICC, announced on Monday that his office had applied to a pre-trial panel for arrest warrants for three senior Hamas officials. Khan also stated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant would be sought for arrest for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the Hamas attack on October 7 and the ensuing seven-month war in Gaza.

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The announcement sparked outrage among Israeli officials, the public, and the country’s allies. In an official response on Tuesday, Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heinrich said, “We call on the nations of the civilised, free world – nations who despise terrorists and anyone who supports them – to stand by Israel. You should outright condemn this step.”

Heinrich continued, “Make sure the ICC understands where you stand. Oppose the prosecutor’s decision and declare that, even if warrants are issued, you do not intend to enforce them. Because this is not about our leaders. It’s about our survival.”

The ICC prosecutor emphasized that while Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas, this does not “absolve Israel or any state of its obligation to comply with international humanitarian law.”

Israel denounces ICC actions, seeks global allies support

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US signals support for possible ICC sanctions over Israel warrants

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US signals support for possible ICC sanctions over Israel warrants

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has suggested he will work with lawmakers on potential sanctions against the International Criminal Court as its prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials.

Mr Blinken told a congressional hearing he was “committed” to taking action against the “profoundly wrong-headed decision”.

His comments come amid a Republican push to impose sanctions on ICC officials, which may see a vote as soon as this week.

The United States is not a member of the court but has backed previous prosecutions, including the ICC’s arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.

At a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, James Risch, its top Republican, asked whether Mr Blinken would support legislation to address the ICC “sticking its nose in the business of countries that have an independent, legitimate, democratic judicial system”.

“We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to find an appropriate response. I’m committed to doing that,” the secretary of state said.

Mr Blinken said “there’s no question we have to look at the appropriate steps to take to deal with, again, what is a profoundly wrong-headed decision”.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan announced on Monday that he had applied for arrest warrants against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

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Mr Khan is also seeking arrest warrants for three Hamas officials – Yahya Sinwar, its leader in Gaza, Mohammed Deif, the commander of its Qassam Brigades military wing, and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of its political bureau.

US President Joe Biden said on Monday it was “outrageous” to apply for arrest warrants. There was “no equivalence – none – between Israel and Hamas”, he added.

Mr Blinken’s remarks echoed the broader pushback in Washington over the court’s decision.

At least two measures imposing sanctions on the ICC had already been introduced in Congress as the court ramped up its inquiry into Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza.

Support on Capitol Hill appears to be coalescing around a bill launched earlier this month by Texas Republican Chip Roy.

The Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act would target ICC officials involved with the case by blocking their entry to the US, revoking any current US visas they hold, and prohibiting them from any property transactions within the country – unless the court ceases its cases against “protected persons of the United States and its allies”.

At least 37 lawmakers in the Republican-led House are now co-sponsoring the legislation, including Elise Stefanik, the chamber’s third highest-ranking Republican.

Ms Stefanik is fresh off a visit to Israel, where she met with Mr Netanyahu, spoke at the Knesset and met with the families of hostages trapped in Gaza.

The court “equivocates a peaceful nation protecting its right to exist with radical terror groups that commit genocide”, she told the BBC in a statement.

Andy Barr of Kentucky, another Republican supporting the bill, said further pursuit of the ICC’s case against Israel must “be met with the full force of our sanctions”.

Less clear, however, is whether Democratic lawmakers will get behind the effort.

The party’s moderate and liberal wings have grappled with Mr Biden’s Israel policy for months, as young progressive voters have pushed the president to more sharply criticise the Netanyahu government’s operations in Gaza.

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Ohio’s Greg Landsman, one of a few Democrats who voted last week to reverse Mr Biden’s pause on a weapons shipment to Israel, told the BBC he hopes Congress will issue a bipartisan rebuke of the ICC “to send the strongest message possible”.

“The decision [to seek arrest warrants] will only further inflame tensions and divisions, embolden anti-Israel conspiracies, and ultimately, it will undermine the credibility of the ICC,” he said in a statement.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson urged Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, to sign a letter on Tuesday inviting Mr Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress.

In March, Mr Schumer called for new elections in Israel but he described the ICC’s case on Monday as “reprehensible”.

Sen Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the BBC that he was unsure about moves to sanction ICC officials.

“I’m not there yet imposing sanctions on the ICC, as opposed to looking to see whether the off ramp of a ruling by the judges of the ICC that they’re not going to proceed with warrants is something I think may come in the next couple of days,” the Democrat said.

But Mr Coons added that he is discussing taking action with his committee colleagues from both parties.

But some left-wing Democrats have expressed their support for the ICC’s actions.

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said the court’s allegations are “significant” and the US must support its work as it has done on past occasions, including in the case of Libya.

“The application for arrest warrants is merely the beginning of a judicial process,” she wrote in a statement on Monday.

“The ICC has been a functioning court – it has seen convictions, acquittals, and dismissals, as we would expect from an impartial and non-political judicial body.”

It remains unclear whether any sanction efforts have yet gathered the support needed to advance through either the Republican-led House or the Democrat-controlled Senate.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that administration officials were discussing “next steps” with lawmakers.

Watching from across the world in Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that its adversary’s “attitude and willingness to use sanctions methods even against the ICC” was “more than curious”.

US signals support for possible ICC sanctions over Israel warrants

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Russian forces simulate nuclear drills near Ukraine

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Russian forces simulate nuclear drills near Ukraine

Russian forces have initiated military drills near Ukraine, simulating the use of tactical nuclear weapons. This move responds to perceived threats from the United States, the United Kingdom, and their allies, as well as increasing Western involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

According to The Guardian, UK, President Vladimir Putin ordered these drills earlier this month. Russian officials stated that the exercises serve as a warning to the West against escalating tensions further.

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Russia is particularly incensed by French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion of deploying European troops to fight Russia in Ukraine. Additionally, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron’s remark supporting Ukraine’s right to use UK-supplied weapons to target sites in Russia has further provoked Moscow.

On Tuesday, the Russian defence ministry released footage showing trucks transporting missiles to a field where launch systems were prepared, and troops at an airfield readying a bomber to carry a nuclear warhead.

The drills are being conducted in Russia’s southern military district, headquartered in Rostov-on-Don, which borders Ukraine and includes areas occupied by Russia. The first stage involves loading launch vehicles, driving to launch sites, and equipping planes with hypersonic Kinzhal missiles.

Russian forces simulate nuclear drills near Ukraine

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