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Tajikistan enhances cooperation with Sri Lanka
The President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, has arrived in Sri Lanka for bilateral discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena and other senior members of government.
Several MoUs have been signed between the two countries, related to tourism, gems, garments and sports. President Sirisena also emphasised the need to enhance cooperation with Tajikistan in maintaining regional security and combating drug trafficking.
US naval aircraft visits Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan military personnel have conducted discussions with US Navy personnel, who arrived aboard a Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft, a military aircraft of the US Navy. The US Navy personnel demonstrated the capabilities of the P-8A, and both parties exchanged military expertise.
The US Detachment Officer in Charge, Lt. Anthony Beres, highlighted that the P-8A is useful for maritime safety patrols, search and rescue, combating drug trafficking, and for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.
IMF asks Sri Lanka to reduce currency swaps with commercial banks
The IMF has urged Sri Lanka to reduce its dependency on currency swaps with commercial banks, and to increase reserves through direct foreign exchange purchases. The IMF stated that direct foreign exchange purchases will also allow exchange rate flexibility, which will assist in offsetting external shocks.
The head of the IMF team in Sri Lanka, Jaewoo Lee, reiterated that ‘the most stable way for the central bank to acquire foreign exchange is through outright cash purchases.’
Agreement to evacuate Aleppo reached
An agreement has been reached for the evacuation of people from east Aleppo. The agreement, negotiated by Turkish intelligence and the Russian military, was reached after the Syrian government assumed full control of Aleppo on 13 December.
The agreement resulted in a ceasefire which went into effect on 13 December, and the evacuation is scheduled to begin on 14 December.
New UN Secretary-General takes oath
Mr. António Guterres has taken the oath of office for his five year term as UN Secretary-General, which begins on 1 January 2017. Following his oath, Mr. Guterres stated that the UN “must focus more on delivery and less on process; more on people and less on bureaucracy.”
Mr. Guterres also mentioned the importance of preventing conflict and fighting terrorism, while warning against the use of human rights ‘as a means to a political end.’
Gambian President contests election result
The incumbent Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, has rejected the presidential election result and requested a re-election. President Jammeh was defeated by the President-elect, Adama Barrow, in the presidential election held on 1 December.
A delegation comprising heads of state from West African countries, such as Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana, have arrived in Gambia to facilitate negotiations, and to urge President Jammeh to accept the election result.