President of Algeria secures fugitive army officer with Erdogan call

President of Algeria secures fugitive army officer with Erdogan call
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. (REUTERS photo)
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Updated 03 August 2020

President of Algeria secures fugitive army officer with Erdogan call

President of Algeria secures fugitive army officer with Erdogan call
  • Bounouira fled to Turkey in the week after Gaed Salah died and the Algerian security source said he had subsequently leaked military secrets to activists based abroad

ALGIERS: Algeria’s president phoned his Turkish counterpart last month to secure the return of a fugitive military official who fled Algeria days after its powerful army chief died in December, a top Algerian security source said.
Guermit Bounouira was handed over to Algerian security officials in Turkey on Thursday, accused of leaking military secrets, and will face a military judge on Monday in Blida prison southwest of Algiers, the source said.
Turkey’s surrender of Bounouira to Algerian authorities underscores the importance Ankara attaches to its relationship with Algeria, a powerful neighbor of Libya where Turkish forces have intervened in the civil war.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune phoned Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan about a week before Eid Al-Adha holiday, which began on Friday, to request he hand Bounouira over, the source said.
Bounouira, a top aide to the late army chief Ahmed Gaed Salah, is accused of leaking a chart showing movements of army officers including their names and codes. The chart has circulated on social media, embarrassing the army, although it was unclear who posted it.

BACKGROUND

Bounouira fled to Turkey in the week after Gaed Salah died and the Algerian security source said he had subsequently leaked military secrets to activists based abroad.

Gaed Salah emerged last year as Algeria’s most powerful man when weekly mass protests succeeded in unseating the veteran president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and a host of other officials.
However, Gaed Salah died suddenly of a heart attack on Dec. 23, weeks after a presidential election that he had pushed for, but which the street protest movement opposed as illegitimate.
Bounouira fled to Turkey in the week after Gaed Salah died and the Algerian security source said he had subsequently leaked military secrets to activists based abroad.
“Guermit was Gaed Salah’s closest man. As such he was aware of military secrets,” the source said.
Tebboune is trying to stamp his own mark on Algeria’s government after Bouteflika’s two decades in office and appointed a new army chief in January.


Italy lauds decree on Palestinian elections

Italy lauds decree on Palestinian elections
Updated 42 min 38 sec ago

Italy lauds decree on Palestinian elections

Italy lauds decree on Palestinian elections
  • Italy’s government said it is “ready to support, along with the EU, the Palestinian electoral process"

ROME: Italy has welcomed the signing of a decree by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold general elections this year, and urged Israeli authorities to facilitate their holding in all Palestinian territories.

“We are talking about a positive development to ensure the rights of the Palestinian people and strengthen local authorities, to which Italy continues to provide constant support, including through targeted programs of bilateral cooperation,” said a spokesman for Italy’s Foreign Ministry.

Elections “would contribute to strengthening the legitimacy of, and international confidence in, Palestinian institutions,” he added. Italy’s government said it is “ready to support, along with the EU, the Palestinian electoral process.”

The upcoming Palestinian elections would be the first in 15 years. Elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) will be held on May 22, and presidential elections will be held on July 31.

A 120-seat Parliament will be formed. Voting will take place both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies said the decree by Abbas represents an “important opening” for US President-elect Joe Biden.

“It is good news for the entire Middle East, where Italy has always been an advocate for peace, dialogue and stability,” it added.