Tunisian president accepts new ministers, easing high-level standoff

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi gives a press conference on November 8, 2018 in Carthage Palace near Tunis concerning the cabinet reshuffle. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
0

Tunisian president accepts new ministers, easing high-level standoff

TUNIS: Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said on Thursday he was ready to swear in ten new ministers named in a reshuffle that he had originally rejected, easing a high-level political standoff that has alarmed donors.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed announced the reshuffle on Monday - but Essebsi quickly rejected it, saying he had not been consulted.
On Thursday, he relented and told reporters he would swear in the ministers if parliament approved the changes. "I have no problem with the prime minister but I dislike the handling of his reshuffle," he said.
The dispute highlighted tensions at the highest levels of Tunisian politics that have been exacerbated by an economic crisis.
Chahed leads a government dominated by the ruling Nidaa Tounes party.
But the prime minister has been caught up in a dispute with the leader of the party, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, who is also the president's son and has accused Chahed of failing to tackle high inflation, unemployment and other problems.
The political wrangling has alarmed donors which have kept the country afloat with loans granted in exchange for a promise of reforms such as cutting a bloated public service.
Essebsi also announced Thursday that the state of emergency in the country has been extended at the request of the government.
Tunisia's economy has been in crisis since the North African state kicked off the Muslim World's "Arab Spring" uprisings by toppling autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
Chahed's reshuffle announced on Monday is the 10th major cabinet overhaul since then. He said it would "make the work of government more effective and to put an end to the political and economic crisis".
Chahed kept the leadership of finance, foreign and the interior ministries unchanged.
He named Jewish businessman Rene Trabelsi as minister of tourism in the Muslim Arab country, just the third member of the small minority to enter the cabinet since Tunisia's independence in 1956.
A former foreign minister under Ben Ali, Kamel Morjan, was named minister in charge of the public service, the country's main employer.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 23 March 2019
0

Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.