Tunisia’s Ennahda leader backtracks, announces party support for president

Tunisia’s Ennahda leader backtracks, announces party support for president
President Kais Saied, left, and Ennahda party leader Rached Ghannouchi. (AFP)
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Updated 12 August 2021

Tunisia’s Ennahda leader backtracks, announces party support for president

Tunisia’s Ennahda leader backtracks, announces party support for president
  • The Islamist leader has reversed his position from July 25, when President Saied invoked emergency powers under the constitution after months of political deadlock and disputes with Ennahda, the largest party in parliament

CAIRO: The leader of Tunisia’s main Islamist political party performed a dramatic U-turn on Wednesday and threw his weight behind President Kais Saied.

“We will support President Saied and do what contributes to his success, including our willingness to make sacrifices in order to preserve the country’s stability and the continuation of democracy,” Ennahda party leader Rached Ghannouchi said.

“We are waiting for the president’s roadmap, and there is no solution except through dialogue under his supervision. We received the message of our people, and the Ennahda movement is open to a review of its policies.”

Ghannouchi, who is also Speaker of the Tunisian parliament, said he expected the assembly to interact “positively” with the new government when the president proposes it.

The Islamist leader has reversed his position from July 25, when President Saied invoked emergency powers under the constitution after months of political deadlock and disputes with Ennahda, the largest party in parliament.

Saied suspended the assembly for 30 days, dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and other senior ministers, removed immunity from prosecution enjoyed by parliament members, and ordered a nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The president acted amid widespread street protests against Ennahda over economic hardship and Tunisia’s failure to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saied said he had “taken the necessary decisions to save Tunisia, the state and the Tunisian people.”

He said his actions were a constitutional and popular response to years of economic and political paralysis, and the constitution gave him power to dismiss the government, appoint a temporary administration, freeze parliament and lift the immunity of its members.

At the time, Ghannouchi said the president’s actions amounted to a coup and were “an assault on democracy,” and called on his supporters to take to the streets in protest.

However, opinion polls indicated that 87 percent of Tunisians backed the president, and thousands took part in demonstrations in his support.

“We are here to protect Tunisia. We have seen all the tragedies under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Ayman, one of the president’s supporters.

Opposition to the president melted away when dismissed Prime Minister Mechichi said he would not be a disruptive element, and would hand the responsibility to whoever the president chose. He was ready to serve Tunisia in any role, Mechichi said.


Emir says Qatar is ready to contribute to every effort to mediate between Russia and Ukraine

Emir says Qatar is ready to contribute to every effort to mediate between Russia and Ukraine
Updated 33 min 33 sec ago

Emir says Qatar is ready to contribute to every effort to mediate between Russia and Ukraine

Emir says Qatar is ready to contribute to every effort to mediate between Russia and Ukraine
  • Sheikh Tamim criticized governments for double standards on value of people based on religion and race
  • Emir hit out at what he called unprecedented attacks on Qatar becoming first Arab country to host FIFA World Cup

LONDON: Qatar’s emir said on Monday that he is ready to contribute to every international and regional effort to find an immediate peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine.
Addressing the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said that solving disputes through aggression is on the rise, and that he is in touch with all parties concerned in the Ukrainian crisis.
“We should never give up trying to bring parties together. As long as we believe our efforts could save even a single life, our attempts to mediate will be worth it,” the emir said.
He expressed sympathy with the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict regardless of their race and religion.
“We consider the value of each European life to be just as precious as someone from our region.
“We stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent refugees who are victims of this European war, and the victims of all other wars taking place right now — victims of every race, nationality and religion. I want us to help all of them.”
Sheikh Tamim also highlighted the suffering of the Palestinian people “who have been occupied for decades with no relief in sight.
“As we rightly apply laser focus to finding a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, I hope we can equally give as much attention and effort to resolving all those forgotten or ignored conflicts.
“The most clear example is in Palestine which has been an open wound since the establishment of the United Nations. The escalation in illegal settlement aggression has been relentless, and the same goes for the continued attacks against the Palestinian people” Sheikh Tamim said.
To applause from the audience, the emir paid tribute to veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed in Jenin while covering Israeli raids on a refugee camp in the West Bank on May 11.
“Shireen was covering the suffering of the Palestinian people for decades and our hearts are broken. Her death was just as horrific as the seven journalists killed in Ukraine since March this year, 18 other journalists killed in Palestine since 2000, and many other journalists killed in the line of duty in Iraq, Syria and Yemen,” he said.
The emir criticized governments for displaying double standards on the value of people based on their religion, region or race.
“In the 21st century we should not tolerate these aggressions, and we should not accept a world where governments have double standards about the value of people based on their religion, region or race,” he said.
He also hit out at what he called unprecedented attacks on Qatar becoming the first Arab country to host the FIFA World Cup.
“For decades now, the Middle East has suffered from discrimination,” he said.
“And I have found that such discrimination is largely based on people not knowing us, and in some cases, refusing to get to know us. Even today, there are still people who cannot accept the idea, that an Arab-Muslim country would host a tournament like the World Cup.
“These individuals, including many in positions of influence, have launched attacks, at a pace never seen before,” he said.


Kuwait airport resumes flights after massive dust storm

This picture taken on May 23, 2022 shows an aerial view of a massive dust storm advancing into Kuwait City above Kuwait Universi
This picture taken on May 23, 2022 shows an aerial view of a massive dust storm advancing into Kuwait City above Kuwait Universi
Updated 12 sec ago

Kuwait airport resumes flights after massive dust storm

This picture taken on May 23, 2022 shows an aerial view of a massive dust storm advancing into Kuwait City above Kuwait Universi

LONDON: Kuwait airport on Monday has resumed international flights after halting them for nearly three hours due to a dust wave that has swept across the area.
“The General Administration of Civil Aviation announced the normal return of air traffic at Kuwait International Airport at 5.50 p.m.,” Deputy Director General for Air Navigation Services Imad Al-Jalawi told Kuwait News Agency.
He added that the dates of incoming and outgoing flights have been rescheduled.
The country’s weather conditions were affected by a decrease in visibility due to dust, reaching less than 500 meters in some areas, accompanied
by active winds that reached a speed of 60 kilometers per hour.
Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities also suspended flights at all airports due to the weather conditions, while the Iraqi government also announced a suspension of official working hours.


Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves

Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves
Updated 23 May 2022

Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves

Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves
  • Palestinian factions have denounced Israeli moves in Jerusalem’s Old City, the heart of their decades-old conflict

JERUSALEM: A senior Israeli lawmaker said on Monday the country risked “religious war” after a court ruled in favor of Jews who had tried to pray at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and as nationalists planned a march near the flashpoint site.
Palestinian factions have denounced Israeli moves in Jerusalem’s Old City, the heart of their decades-old conflict, and reiterated threats that echoed their warnings in the run-up to the May 2021 war in Gaza.
Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court on Sunday rescinded a restraining order against three Jews who had prayed while visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Jews revere the site as vestige of two ancient temples, but are barred from worship there under an Israeli pact with Muslim authorities. The mosque is Islam’s third-holiest shrine.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said it would appeal the ruling. Bennett, who heads a weak coalition government, must also decide whether to green-light an annual Israeli flag march in the Old City next Sunday.
Ram Ben-Barak, chairman of parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, came out against the lower court ruling and voiced concern about the planned route of the march, which includes the Muslim quarter of the Old City.
“I think that during this sensitive period care must be taken,” he told Kan radio. “We should not, with our own hands, cause a religious war here or all kinds of provocations that are liable to ignite the Middle East.”
The flag march celebrates Israel’s capture of the Old City in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel deems all of Jerusalem its capital — a status not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want to establish their own capital in the city.
Weeks of clashes in East Jerusalem last year, including in the Al-Aqsa compound, helped ignite a war in Gaza last May that killed at least 250 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel.
After months of relative calm, tensions have risen again in recent weeks, leaving many dead, with repeated raids by Israeli forces in the West Bank, and attacks by militants on Israelis.
Police and Palestinians also clashed in the mosque area last month on numerous occasions during the holy month of Ramadan.
Ben-Barak, whose centrist party is in the coalition, predicted that Bennett would wait until the night before the march to decide on its final route to prevent possible conflict.
“It is not always worth paying this price for a demonstration that is all about spectacle and little else.”
Speaking in Gaza, a senior official with Islamic Jihad, Khaled Al-Batsh, said that going ahead with the flag march would be a “message of war” against Palestinians.
“The Palestinians will confront the flag march and the resistance will do all it should to protect the Al Aqsa mosque and the sacred sites,” Batsh said in a statement.


Five dead, scores trapped after building collapses in Iran - State TV

Five dead, scores trapped after building collapses in Iran - State TV
A rescue operation was being carried out, with emergency teams being dispatched from other cities to help. (AFP)
Updated 23 May 2022

Five dead, scores trapped after building collapses in Iran - State TV

Five dead, scores trapped after building collapses in Iran - State TV
  • A rescue operation was being carried out, with emergency teams being dispatched from other cities to help

DUBAI: Five people were killed when a 10-story building in Iran’s southern city of Abadan partly collapsed and rescuers were trying to help at least 80 people left trapped under the rubble, Iranian state TV reported on Monday.
The semi-official Mehr news agency identified the building as a residential-commercial property on Amir Kabir street in the city, which is close to the border with Iraq.
State TV said emergency teams were being dispatched from other cities to help with the rescue operation, with two teams of rescue dogs, a helicopter and seven rescue vehicles already at the scene. It showed footage of angry Abadan residents shouting slogans against the city authorities.
The head of Khuzestan province’s judiciary has ordered an investigation into the building’s collapse, and its owner and the contractor who built it have been arrested, state TV said.


Egypt’s PM holds talks on Brazil economic ties

Egypt’s PM holds talks on Brazil economic ties
Updated 23 May 2022

Egypt’s PM holds talks on Brazil economic ties

Egypt’s PM holds talks on Brazil economic ties
  • Mostafa Madbouly met with officials from Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce
  • Egypt is Brazil’s top trade partner among Arab countries, with volume of nearly $2.6bn

CAIRO: Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly discussed with Osmar Chohfi, president of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, and its Secretary-General Tamer Mansour, economic ties between the two countries.

Nader Saad, spokesman for Egypt’s Cabinet, said the meeting also reviewed growing ties between Brazil and Arab countries.

Madbouly stressed Cairo’s support for all efforts to bolster economic ties, including proposals related to investment cooperation and the establishment of a Brazilian industrial zone in Egypt.

Egypt is Brazil’s top trade partner among Arab countries, with a trade volume of nearly $2.6 billion.

Khaled Hanafy, secretary-general of the Federation of Arab Chambers of Commerce, who attended the meeting, said Brazil is ready to be a gateway for Egyptian exports to South America, and is willing to invest in Egypt through a Brazilian industrial zone.

Saad said Madbouly was invited to participate in the meetings of the Arab-Brazilian Economic Forum in Sao Paulo in July, under the auspices and presence of Brazil’s president. Brazil’s vice president visited Egypt last September.