Monday 19 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the interest of China to spy," AU commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said during a visit to Beijing, where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss deepening cooperation on a variety of issues,...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
Tunisians risk being prosecuted for exercising basic rights despite progress towards democracy following its 2011 uprising, rights groups said Wednesday. The North African country is seen as the only success story to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings after its 2011 ouster of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali sparked upheaval across the region. But four years since it adopted a landmark constitution, its rights record has come under the spotlight again for alleged police abuses following demonstrations last month over economic grievances. In a review of the 2014 constitution that enshrined key freedoms, local and international civil society groups said outmoded laws remain a major issue. "Intrusive police practices" persist and courts continue to deliver "decisions based on obsolete...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
The family of slain Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid on Tuesday demanded the "whole truth" about his killing, five years after it sparked a political crisis as the country struggled towards democracy. Leftist Belaid, 48, was a fierce critic of Islamist party Ennahdha, which was in power when he was gunned down, and his supporters have accused his political opponents over the killing. The shooting was claimed by jihadists linked to the Islamic State group and the Tunisian authorities said the suspected hitman died during a 2014 operation. Twenty four defendants have been on trial for alleged involvement in Belaid's...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 01/31/18)
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Tunisia Wednesday on a visit intended to "support the democratic transition" of a country still battered by economic stagnation and social unrest seven years after its revolution. His visit comes after several hundred people were arrested in Tunisia this month in protests fuelled by unemployment, corruption and austerity measures in the 2018 budget. The French presidency said Macron hopes "to support the Tunisian democratic experience, the only successful transition experience after the Arab Spring"...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Tunisia's government on Saturday announced an increase in aid to the needy and improved health care as part of social reforms following a week of unrest triggered by austerity measures. Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi told reporters that monthly aid to needy families would rise from 150 dinars (50 euros) to between 180 and 210 dinars (60 and 70 euros). He said reforms which have been in the pipeline for several months would guarantee medical care for all Tunisians, without elaborating, and also provide housing to disadvantaged families. The announcement came after President Beji Caid Essebsi consulted with political parties...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Tunisians on Sunday marked seven years since the uprising that launched the Arab Spring, with fresh protests and some people expressing pride but others anger over persistent economic problems. The North African country is seen as having had a relatively smooth democratic transition since the January 14, 2011 toppling of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power. But seven years later, anger has risen over new austerity measures after a year of rising prices, with protesters...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi was to hold talks Saturday with political parties, unions and employers to discuss means to overcome unrest triggered by austerity measures. The North African country has been shaken by a wave of protests over poverty and unemployment during which hundreds have been arrested before the unrest tapered off. The demonstrations broke out ahead of Sunday's seventh anniversary of the toppling of veteran dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a revolt that sparked uprisings across...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets of the capital and the coastal city of Sfax on Friday, waving yellow cards and demanding that the government reverse austerity measures. More than 200 young people rallied in Tunis following a call from the Fech Nestannew (What Are We Waiting For?) campaign for a major protest against the measures imposed at the start of the year. They held up yellow cards and chanted slogans amid a major deployment of riot police as...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/12/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian authorities arrested another 150 people including local opposition leaders on Friday, bringing the total detained close to 800 in response to demonstrations this week against price and tax rises. Protests, some violent, flared across Tunisia on Monday, when one protester was killed, before ebbing on Thursday. Protesters have burned dozens of state buildings, prompting the government to send the army into several cities and towns. Activists and opposition politicians appealed for fresh demonstrations in the capital,...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s main opposition party on Tuesday called for protests against the “unjust” 2018 budget including price and tax hikes to continue until the government scraps it, a day after one demonstrator was killed in clashes. Protests erupted in more than 10 towns across Tunisia on Monday against the price and tax increases imposed by the government to reduce its ballooning deficit and satisfy its international lenders. One protestor was killed in Tebourba, a town 40 km (25 miles) west of the capital Tunis. While Tunisia is widely seen as the only democratic success story among the “Arab Spring”...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Tunisia said Thursday it was allowing Emirates Airline flights to the country again after halting them following outcry over security measures by the United Arab Emirates targeting Tunisian women. Tunisia suspended flights by the Dubai-based carrier on December 24 after women from the North African state complained they were delayed after being targeted for additional checks as they flew to the UAE. Tunisian officials said the authorities in the UAE told them they had "serious security information about the possibility...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/05/18)
DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates said on Thursday it would resume flights to Tunisia after an exchange of security information, resolving a row over a ban on female Tunisian passengers. A statement by the foreign ministry on state news agency WAM said the decision was taken in light of extensive cooperation and information received from the Tunisian side that eased the national carriers’ concerns. Tunisia’s transport ministry said an agreement had been reached after “contacts with the Emirati...
(AFP (eng) 12/27/17)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday signed agreements in Tunis on defence, investment and the environment as he and his Tunisian counterpart expressed their determination to strengthen economic cooperation. "We affirmed the desire of the two states to strengthen cooperation... taking into account the circumstances affecting Tunisia," the North African country's President Beji Caid Essebsi said. The Tunisian leader went on to praise "the understanding shown by the Turkish president regarding these circumstances".
(AFP (eng) 12/27/17)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that a political solution to the Syrian conflict was impossible without the departure of President Bashar al-Assad, branding him a "terrorist". "It is absolutely impossible to advance with Assad in Syria," Erdogan told a news conference after meeting Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi. "Bashar al-Assad is a terrorist... We cannot just say this person goes on doing this job. If we do then it's unfair" to the Syrians who have been killed,...

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