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Russia vows tit-for-tat retaliation for EU sanctions

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Russia vows tit-for-tat retaliation for EU sanctions

The Russian Foreign Ministry pledged a tit-for-tat response on Friday to the new European Union (EU) sanctions against a number of Russian citizens and government agencies under the pretext of their involvement in cyber attacks.


“As you know, in diplomacy, everything is mirrored,” the ministry said in a statement.

The decision made Thursday by the Council of the EU to introduce unilateral restrictive measures against a number of citizens and entities of Russia, China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea causes bewilderment and regret, it said.

Moscow has several times suggested that the EU establish a professional dialogue on issues of concern in the information sphere, or use the existing channels and mechanisms through the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the ministry said.

Joint efforts are required to develop universal rules, standards and principles of responsible behavior for states in the information sphere and Russia has long been proposing this approach, it said.

But instead, Brussels preferred to use a sanctions toolkit, presenting it as promoting international security and stability in cyberspace, the ministry said.

The ministry also pointed out that the EU sanctions are absolutely illegitimate from an international legal point of view.

It said that the EU applied the sanctions retroactively, as the Russian citizens were accused of involvement in a cyber incident that took place in 2018, that is, a year before the establishment of the cyber sanctions mechanism by the EU.

EU lawyers, obviously, deliberately forgot about the fundamental principle that a law cannot have retroactive effect, the ministry said.

(XINHUA)

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COVID-19

15 countries purchase Russia’s Avifavir COVID-19 medication – Direct Investment Fund

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Russia says it is delivering its Avifavir medication against COVID-19 to 15 countries already.


Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which took part in the creation of the remedy, disclosed this to Russia-24 broadcaster in an interview.

“We can boast great achievements in this area, as the medication has been delivered to over 15 countries,” Dmitriev said.

“This is really important, as there are in fact only two international antiviral drugs that are delivered to a certain number of countries: the United States’ Remdesivir and the Russian Avifavir.

“Ninety per cent of the produced Remdesivir have been purchased by the United States

“So, it is no surprise that 15 countries purchase our medication,” the RDIF CEO explained.

Earlier on Monday, Kromis — a joint venture of the RDIF and the ChemRar pharmaceutical company — announced it had reached agreement on Avifavir deliveries to South Africa and seven countries in Latin America.

Avifavir received a registration certificate of the Russian Ministry of Health in late May, becoming the world’s first favipiravir-based drug approved for treatment of COVID-19.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

China’s manufacturing sector shows strong recovery – Survey

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China’s manufacturing activity expanded in July at the fastest pace in almost a decade, according to a private survey released on Monday, though employment continued to drop in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.


The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 52.8 for July, compared to 51.2 in June.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while one below shows contraction.

The survey indicates the quickest monthly expansion of manufacturing output and new orders since January 2011.

Meanwhile, new business from overseas fell at the slowest rate in six months.

The index beat analysts’ expectations and comes as China has largely contained the coronavirus crisis and most companies have resumed operations.

Nevertheless, employment dropped for the seventh consecutive month.

While some companies hired more workers to meet production needs, others laid off employees to cut costs, the survey showed.

“To increase employment, manufacturers will need more time and confidence,” said Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group.

Official manufacturing data released last week also indicated a recovery.

The official manufacturing PMI came in at 51.1 in July compared to 50.9 in June.

China’s economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter of the year, according to official data, after contracting 6.8 per cent in the first quarter due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

France to push for rights sanctions in EU recovery plan – Minister

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France will push for financial sanctions under the EU’s 750 billion euro ($880 billion) coronavirus recovery fund against states that undermine fundamental human rights, its junior European Affairs Minister told the Financial Times newspaper.


“We can’t tell (French, Polish, Hungarian and European) citizens that (we) can have financial solidarity in Europe and not care how the basic rules of democracy, free media and equal rights are respected,’’ Clement Beaune said in an interview published late on Sunday.

The European Union is struggling to respond to what many in Western Europe see as creeping authoritarianism on its eastern flank.

The European Commission, EU lawmakers and activists have said freedoms are notably under threat in Poland and Hungary.

Beaune told the newspaper that the EU must be tougher on breaches by those countries.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Metro

China Loan: Amaechi says Nigeria will pay back in 20years

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi says Nigerian government has the capability to pay back loans collected for the construction of rail projects within the stipulated period of 20 years.


Amaechi, in a statement on Saturday, said China was the only country giving out loans with a low interest rate of 2.8 per cent.

He said no country in the world would give out a loan without a guarantee to pay back such loans.

“The trade agreement between Nigeria and China, the ministry of transportation does not take loan, everything about loan is directed to the Ministry of Finance, so,  I couldn’t have signed any loan because I don’t take loan.

“What I signed is what is called commercial contract, which is contract between the Federal Government and CCECC as a contractor, the contract between Nigeria and China is usually signed by the ministry of finance.

“Whether is the ministry of finance that signed it or the ministry of transportation, the issue is that nobody will give you loan free of charge.

“There must be an agreement and such agreement must contain some terms, that doesn’t mean that you are signing away the sovereignty of the country, no country will sign out its sovereignty.

“What clause 8 says is, I expect you to pay according to those terms we have agreed, if you don’t pay, don’t throw your immunity on me when I come to collect back the guarantee that was put forward, that is all.

“We are paying the loans. In the same National Assembly sitting, they were told that of the 500million dollars loan, we have paid 96 million dollars already, Nigeria is already paying.

“And the 500 million dollars was not taken by us, it was taken by President Goodluck Jonathan in his term and that clause was there.

“Nigeria has the capacity to pay back for the period of 20 years at 2.8 per cent, which country will give you that loan? Secondly, these loans are not given to us, they are paid directly to the contractors.

“Once they sign that the job has been done, they pay the contractors and that has never happened before and this project are in place. Are they trying to rubbish the fact that there is a railway from Abuja-Kaduna?

“There is no loan in Nigeria, either internal or external that is not approved by the National Assembly, none.

Chinese government will not even give you a loan without an approval by the National Assembly because if they give you a loan without the approval from NASS that is no loan,” Amaechi explained.

The minister further said the government needed the loans to boost infrastructure in the country.

According to him, the sovereign guarantee and sovereign immunity clause raised by the NASS is a term used to ensure that loans collected are paid back.

The minister said in the case of a default, only the assets constructed with such a loan would be taken back.

He said: “What you do is you give a sovereign guarantee and that guarantee is the immunity clause they are talking about.

“When we say, I give you a sovereign guarantee and we get immunity clause, the immunity clause is that, if tomorrow I am not able to pay and you come to collect the items we have agreed upon, that these are the items that am putting down as guarantee, I can waive my immunity and say no you can’t touch it am sovereign country.

“So, they are saying, if you are not able to pay, don’t stop us from taking back those items that will make us recover our funds. So, is China our father that will give us money for free?

“It is a standard clause in every agreement whether is America we signed it with, whether is Britain, any country would want to know that they can recover their money.

“Anybody that is saying he doesn’t know what a sovereign guarantee or immunity is, too bad for the person, because it simply means in trade that I am not giving you this loan free of charge.

“Just like you go to the bank to collect a loan, the moment you don’t pay they go after your assets you put down, that is all about the clause, the Chinese can never come and take over Aso rock and become President or Minister.

” And if the assets you put down become depreciated then you negotiate which assets they can go after. Chinese will never take over what was not constructed with the loan.”

Amaechi noted that it would be unconstitutional to take a loan not approved by the NASS, but for confidentiality in government he would have published the clauses generating the dusts.

The minister while asking the reason for the investigation by the NASS added that they were aware of all the loans.

He said:” The Chinese is just asking us to show them the evidence that we will pay back, which is the immunity clause. If we don’t pay, they can take back their assets.”

On the Zambia experience, where the country could not meet up with its loan agreement, the minister said that the Chinese government will never take over infrastructure that was not constructed from the money taken.

He also acknowledged that the finance ministry in a payment plan had started paying back some of the loans collected.

He said the payment plan was the responsibility of the ministry of finance, and the Ministry of transportation was supposed to implement the contract.

“They are meeting the requirements, at any point in time that we need to pay, we’ll pay. 1.6 billion dollars was taken to fix Lagos to Ibadan, we are asking for 5.3 billion dollars to fix from Ibadan to Kano.

“3.2 billion dollars to fix Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, then Lagos to Calabar which is about 11.1billion dollars, if those things were done when we had money, the infrastructure will be here today? The answer is no,” Amaechi added.

The minister, however, called on the National Assembly and Nigerians to appreciate government effort in providing infrastructure in the country.

Amaechi noted that the Itakpe /Warri rail project in the South South,  which was abandoned for thirty four years by successive governments was fully rehabilitated by the present administration without seeking for loan.

Edited By: Yakubu Uba/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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