G7 diplomats discuss Myanmar coup, other global issues

The foreign ministers of G7 countries are discussing a range of “critical global issues” including the coup in Myanmar, an official statement said on Tuesday.

The G7 Foreign and Development Ministers Meeting in London is the first major in-person diplomatic gathering since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and the first gathering of G7 Foreign Ministers since 2019.

The press release said British Foreign Secretary Dominic The ongoing negotiations for the concession agreement between the government and Maynilad Water Services Inc (MWSI) are proceeding smoothly despite minor glitches, Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Tuesday.

It was a “smooth and easy meeting” on Monday, Guevarra told the media via text message.

Before the meeting, Maynilad was furnished a copy of the agreement with Manila Water Co. Inc. for reference.

The original concession agreement expires next year.

“Except for a few matters pertaining to Maynilad’s business plan, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) loans, and public listing of shares, the parties are in agreement on the rest of the proposed new concession agreement with Maynilad, which takes off from a similar concession agreement with Manila Water,” Guevarra said.

Aside from the DOJ, the government panel is composed of the Office of the President, Department of Finance, Office of the Solicitor General, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, and Vince Dizon, who is the Presidential Adviser on Flagship Programs and Projects and president of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

A review by the DOJ in 2019 showed the water contracts were “onerous and disadvantageous to the people, relative to the terms or periods, government non-interference provisions, as well as concessionaire indemnification for losses”.

Another onerous provision is the extension of the contracts to 2037, considering that the extension was granted 12 years before the original expiration of the 25-year concession agreements in 2022.

In March 2019 when water service interruptions hit Metro Manila and nearby areas, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to revoke the contracts with the two water firms.

In November last year, the President directed the DOJ to discuss with Maynilad and Manila Water the proposed revisions of their existing contracts. “will lead discussions on pressing geopolitical issues that threaten to undermine democracy, freedoms and human rights” such as relations with Russia, China, and Iran, as well as the crisis in Myanmar, the violence in Ethiopia, and the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Raab will urge G7 nations to take stronger action against Myanmar’s military junta, it added. “This includes expanding targeted sanctions against individuals and entities connected to the junta; support for arms embargoes, and increased humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable in the country.”

Pro-democracy protests have taken place in cities and towns across the Southeast Asian country since the Feb.1 military takeover.

The military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, detained her and other leaders of the National League for Democracy, then cracked down with lethal force on anti-coup protesters.

At least 766 people have been killed since the coup d’état, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a local monitoring group.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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