On Friday, the BBC reported growing speculation that a deal between the DUP and Sinn Féin to resurrect devolved government could be unveiled this week. On the same evening, in a statement DUP leader Arlene Foster said that whilst progress had been made there was more work to do. Northern Ireland Office officials reportedly told smaller parties – the SDLP, UUP and Alliance – that discussions between the ‘big two’ were at “a critical stage”.
Mary Lou McDonald was formally elected as President of Sinn Féin, replacing Gerry Adams, while Michelle O’Neill became the party’s Vice President. In Ms McDonald’s first speech as leader she warned that Brexit poses a significant threat to the economy and politics across the island of Ireland. On negotiations with the DUP aimed at bringing back Stormont, she said: “Issues like marriage equality, an Irish language act, legacy inquests, rights, respect and integrity in government should not be politically contentious.”
UK International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt warned that the government could cut funding to the charity Oxfam if it cannot account for the way it handled claims of sexual misconduct by aid workers. She told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that she has written to other organisations funded by Department for International Development (DfID) urging them to report any safeguarding issues, past or present, and pledged they would all be followed up.
On a visit to Myanmar, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he doubts its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi “understands the full horror” of the Rohingya refugee crisis; he urged her to work with UN agencies to help the refugees return. Violence in the Myanmar’s state of Rakhine has caused about 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh since last August. Mr Johnson told the BBC: “I don’t think she’s been up in a helicopter to see what we have seen.” He continued, “I have seen nothing like it in my lifetime. Hundreds of villages torched. It is absolutely devastating and I think that what is needed now is some leadership.”
It was revealed that South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will convene a special meeting of its executive body on Monday, amid mounting pressure on the President, Jacob Zuma, to step down. As reported by The Guardian, the decision comes after nearly five days of talks between Mr Zuma and the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over the leadership of the ANC in December. Mr Zuma has been in power for nine years; his tenure has been marked by economic decline and numerous allegations of corruption. The ANC has been in power since the end of the apartheid regime in 1994.
Also published on Medium.