Tunisia bids farewell to president Essebsi at state funeral

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Military officers carry the coffin of late president Essebsi during his state funeral at the presidential palace in the capital's eastern suburb of Carthage on July 27, 2019. (AFP)
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Military officers attend the state funeral of late president Essebsi at the presidential palace in the capital's eastern suburb of Carthage on July 27, 2019. (AFP)
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A military band performs during the state funeral of late president Essebsi at the presidential palace in the capital's eastern suburb of Carthage on July 27, 2019. (AFP)
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Saudi Prince Mansour bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz and Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd arrive in Tunisia ahead of the funeral of late president Beji Caid Essebsi. (SPA)
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Women hold a placard depicting Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi during his funeral in Tunis, Tunisia July 27, 2019. (Reuters)
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Military officers carry the coffin of late president Essebsi during his state funeral at the presidential palace in the capital's eastern suburb of Carthage on July 27, 2019. (AFP)
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People gather during the funeral of the Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis, Tunisia July 27, 2019. (Reuters)
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People gather during the funeral of the Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis, Tunisia July 27, 2019. (Reuters)
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French President Emmanuel Macron (L) speaks to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the state funeral of late president Essebsi at the presidential palace in the capital's eastern suburb of Carthage on July 27, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 27 July 2019

Tunisia bids farewell to president Essebsi at state funeral

  • Essebsi, who helped guide the North African country’s transition to democracy after the 2011 revolution, died aged 92 on Thursday
  • Hours after Essebsi’s death, parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur was sworn in as interim president in line with the constitution

CARTHAGE: Tunisia bid farewell to its first democratically elected president Beji Caid Essebsi on Saturday at a state funeral attended by foreign leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron.
Essebsi, who helped guide the North African country’s transition to democracy after the 2011 revolution, died aged 92 on Thursday.
The state funeral started at 11 a.m. (1000 GMT). Those attending include Algerian President Abdelkader Ben Saleh, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, along with thousands of Tunisians.




Saudi Arabia's Prince Mansour bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz and Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd arrive in Tunisia ahead of the funeral of late president Beji Caid Essebsi. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mansour bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz and Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd attended the funeral on behalf of King Salman.

Many roads have been closed and security forces deployed in most areas of the capital and near the Al Jallaz cemetery.

Thousands filled the capital’s Habib Bourguiba Avenue, a focal point of the 2011 revolution that sparked uprisings across the Arab world, known as the Arab Spring.
"It is a sad day for Tunisia," said a woman named Nabila. "We lost a great statesman who had a big role after 2011 revolution and helped unite Tunisians and ease historical differences with the Islamists."




Military officers attend the state funeral of late president Essebsi at the presidential palace in the capital's eastern suburb of Carthage on July 27, 2019. (AFP)


Hours after Essebsi’s death, parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur was sworn in as interim president in line with the constitution. The electoral commission announced a presidential election for Sept. 15, two months earlier than scheduled. A parliamentary vote is set for Oct. 6.
Essebsi rose to prominence after the overthrow of veteran autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, which was followed by “Arab Spring” revolts against authoritarian leaders across the Middle East and North Africa, including in Libya and Egypt.




Military officers carry the coffin of late president Essebsi during his state funeral at the presidential palace in the capital's eastern suburb of Carthage on July 27, 2019.  (AFP)


Drafted in as premier after Ben Ali’s fall, Essebsi in 2012 founded the secular Nidaa Tounes party, now part of the governing coalition, to counter-balance the resurgence of Islamists who were suppressed under Ben Ali. Two years later, Essebsi became Tunisia’s first freely elected head of state.


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 18 August 2019

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”