Netanyahu, Putin to meet over Syria conflict

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, on September 21, 2015. (File Photo by Reuters)
Updated 21 August 2017
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Netanyahu, Putin to meet over Syria conflict

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Russia on Wednesday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, mainly focussing on the war in Syria, his office said late Saturday.
The two leaders will meet in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi to “discuss the latest developments in the region,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
Such talks have allowed the two countries to so far avoid any confrontation between their air forces, as Russia conducts airstrikes in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Israel has sought to avoid being dragged into the civil war, but has carried out strikes to prevent arms deliveries to the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which fights alongside Assad’s forces.
Israel’s army has carried out nearly 100 strikes in the past five years on convoys carrying weapons to militant groups in Syria and elsewhere, former air force commander Amir Eshel told the Haaretz newspaper on Thursday.
In March, Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Israel’s ambassador over air strikes close to Moscow’s forces near the historic Syrian city of Palmyra.
At the time, Israel’s intelligence minister Yisrael Katz told AFP that in general, Moscow was not informed of Israeli strikes in Syria ahead of time, even though a “hotline” was set up last year to avoid accidental clashes between the two countries’ forces.


Tunisia OKs law to fight widespread corruption

Tunisian prime minister Youssef Chahed. (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Tunisia OKs law to fight widespread corruption

  • Tunisia’s anti-corruption committee says graft is still widespread and threatens Tunisia with billions of dollars a year in losses
  • The penalties for illicit enrichment include fines and five years’ imprisonment

TUNIS: The Tunisian Parliament on Tuesday approved a law to combat illicit enrichment, a step designed to strengthen the government’s fight against widespread corruption in the country.
Since the 2011 uprising, Tunisia has been held up by Western partners as a model of democracy for the region. Economic progress has lagged, however, and corruption remains a major problem in the North African state.
The law will force the president, ministers, senior officials in the public sector, independent bodies, banks, judges, security forces, journalists and unions to declare their property.
“The law is a revolution because it will allow the national group to scrutinize the unknown wealth that has been acquired illegally,” Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said.
The parliamentary speaker, Mohamed Naceur, said the law “is another step in efforts to fight corruption, ensure transparency and preserve public money.”
The penalties for illicit enrichment include fines and five years’ imprisonment.
Last year, the government confiscated the property and froze bank accounts of about 20 prominent businessmen arrested on suspicion of corruption in an unprecedented government campaign against graft.
Chafik Jaraya, who maintains political contacts in Tunisia and Libya and helped finance the Nidaa Tounes ruling party during the last elections in 2014, was among those arrested last year.
He is in jail awaiting trial. His lawyer has said the charges are politically motivated.
Tunisia’s anti-corruption committee says graft is still widespread and threatens Tunisia with billions of dollars a year in losses.
It added that corruption had spread in all sectors including security, public tenders and health.