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Turkey to take over Somalia's naval defence for a decade

Turkey to take over Somalia's naval defence for a decade

The Somali cabinet formally approved a defence and economic cooperation agreement with Turkey on Wednesday, authorising Ankara to build, train and equip the Somali navy and reportedly defend its territorial waters amid tensions with Ethiopia. The agreement strengthens Turkish political and military position in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region amid increasing concerns about security in the strategic waterway. Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre described the agreement at the cabinet meeting as a “historic” one that would become a “legacy” for the Somali nation in the long run.  “This agreement will put an end to the fear of terrorism, pirates, illegal fishing, poisoning, abuse and threats from abroad,” he said, according to the local reports. A Turkish defence official declined to comment, saying that the contents of the agreement would be public simultaneously as it is ratified by the Turkish parliament and the president. “We cannot reveal the details as it has a long way to be ratified,” the official added.  The Turkish Navy already operates off the shore of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden under a UN mission to combat piracy and armed robbery since 2009. 

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The time is now to finalise Sweden's accession to NATO, says Blinken

The time is now to finalise Sweden's accession to NATO, says Blinken

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the "time is now" to finalise Sweden's accession to NATO. While both Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO together on 18 May 2022, some two and a half months after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden's bid has been held up by objections from Hungary and Turkey. Finland on the other hand became the 31st member of the military alliance on 4 April 2023. Speaking at a press conference in the northern Swedish city of Luleå alongside Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Tuesday (30 May), Blinken added that Sweden has "taken very significant steps to address very legitimate concerns, and I think in terms of its own qualifications for membership, from day one it was qualified precisely because it’s been such a long-time partner for NATO; of course, the European Union; and with values that are fundamentally the same." Turkey has accused Sweden of being soft on groups that they perceive as terror organisations or consider existential threats, including Kurdish groups such as the PKK, and the Syrian Kurdish militia group, the YPG and its political branch, the PYD. In an attempt to address Turkey's concerns and to persuade Ankara to approve Sweden's bid to join NATO, at the start of May Sweden tightened anti-terrorism laws to include a prison term of up to four years for individuals convicted of participating in an extremist organisation in a way that is intended to promote, strengthen or support the group. 
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US announces $375m military aid for Ukraine at G7 in Japan

US announces $375m military aid for Ukraine at G7 in Japan

The US Department of Defense has announced another package of military aid to Ukraine, this time totalling $375m. It is the 38th round of equipment sent to Ukraine by the US since August 2021. The statement released by the US Department of Defense on Sunday (21 May) following President Joe Biden's meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 meeting in Japan details the capabilities included in the latest package. It will include further ammunition with HIMARS rocket systems that have wrought havoc on Russian troop and equipment concentrations since they were first supplied to Ukraine in June 2022. It will also supply Javelin anti-tank missiles and AT-4 anti-armour systems, as well as armoured bridging systems, logistics support, and thermal imagery systems. This latest package comes after Joe Biden signaled that he would authorise the third-party transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, something that Ukraine has pressured allies over for months. He would also support an international intiative to train Ukrainian pilots on the jets, he added while at the G7 summit in Japan.
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UK and The Netherlands join forces to assist Ukraine in acquiring F-16 jets

UK and The Netherlands join forces to assist Ukraine in acquiring F-16 jets

The UK and The Netherlands have agreed to form an "international coalition" to assist Ukraine in acquiring F-16 fighter jets, the UK Government announced in a statement released on Tuesday (16 May). Meeting on the sidelines of the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik, prime ministers Rishi Sunak and Mark Rutte "agreed they would work to build international coalition to provide Ukraine with combat air capabilities, supporting with everything from training to procuring F16 jets", the statement said. "The [British] Prime Minister reiterated his belief that Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO and the leaders agreed on the importance of allies providing long-term security assistance to Ukraine to guarantee they can deter against future attacks," the statement added. This development followed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's suggestion that Kyiv could expect to receive F-16 fighter jets soon, expressing optimism about crucial decisions being made with the support of the UK. On 15 May in London, Zelensky and Sunak engaged in a two-hour discussion during the former's second visit to the UK since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.