TUNISIAN JUDICIARY INVESTIGATES ENNAHDA CHIEF

The Tunisian judiciary has commenced investigating the President of the Ennahda Movement, Rached Ghannouchi, in the so-called “Namaa Tunisia Association” case. Ghannouchi arrived at the Judicial Pole of Counter-Terrorism in the capital, on July 19 morning, accompanied by his deputy, Noureddine Bhiri, amid significant security reinforcements. Supporters of the Movement received Ghannouchi by chanting the Tunisian national anthem, along with slogans denouncing the “coup against legitimacy” and “political trials”, and another accusing President Kais Saied of using the judiciary to target his opponents, notably Ghannouchi who, on several occasions, expressed his rejection of the “coup” against the constitution and democracy in Tunisia. Ghannouchi was also accompanied by prominent opposition figures, such as the Head of the Salvation Front, Ahmed Najib Chebbi, and the Front’s member, Ridha Belhaj, as well as a large number of Tunisian lawyers.

MOROCCO: PROTEST AGAINST VISIT OF ISRAELI ARMY CHIEF

Dozens of human rights activists demonstrated in front of the Moroccan parliament building in the capital Rabat on July 18, protesting the visit of the Chief of Staff of the Israeli occupation army, Aviv Kochavi. This is the first public visit of its kind which lasted three days. The protest was called by the popular National Action Group for Palestine, which opposes normalisation between Morocco and the occupation state. Demonstrators chanted slogans condemning the visit and normalisation. Kochavi arrived in Morocco as part of the framework to strengthen military and security cooperation between Tel Aviv and Rabat, which started to take shape in April 2020. According to the head of the Moroccan Observatory against Normalisation, Ahmed Wehman, the protest represented “condemnation of the visit of the war criminal,” who, as he put it, “shed the blood of thousands of Lebanese and Arab Palestinians.”

ALGERIA EXPERT APOLOGISES FOR ‘TUNISIA IS AN ALGERIAN PROVINCE’

Algerian expert, Elhouari Tigharsi, apologised to Tunisians after telling Sky News Arabia that the Algerian authorities considered Tunisia “a very important Algerian province,” a report said on July 20. Hours later he turned to Facebook to apologise, saying: “I apologise to my brothers and my loved ones in Tunisia if they understood something other than what I meant when I said that Tunisia is an extension of Algeria. The context of the conversation with the Moroccan journalist was about the economic integration between the two parties and the prospects of cooperation between the two countries after opening the borders. At the beginning of my statement, I described Tunisia as a historical partner, and this was enough, in my opinion, for everyone to understand the extent of my respect for the sovereignty and independence of this beloved country.” Tunisian opposition groups considered Tigharsi’s statement as an application of President Kais Saied’s policies which has contributed to compromising national sovereignty.

TÜRKIYE TO CONTINUE PUSH FOR RUSSIA-UKRAINE PEACE: ERDOGAN

Türkiye is determined to forge ahead with its diplomatic efforts until there is peace between Russia and Ukraine, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 23. Speaking at an event in the central Kayseri province, Erdogan said the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports signed in Istanbul was an important success. Türkiye is making a “substantial contribution” to efforts to overcome a global food crisis, he added.

With the mediation of Türkiye and the UN, Kyiv and Moscow signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume Ukrainian grain shipments from Black Sea ports. Under the deal, reached on a UN-led plan during talks in Istanbul, a coordination center will be established to carry out joint inspections at the entrances and exits of harbors, and to ensure the safety of the routes. Türkiye has coordinated with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor from the Ukrainian port city of Odesa to restart shipments stuck due to the Russia-Ukraine war, now in its fifth month.

SYRIAN CRISIS: POLITICAL SOLUTION SANS FOREIGN INTERFERENCE NEEDED

Iran, Türkiye and Russia reiterated their commitment to work toward a political and diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis at the seventh summit of the guarantor states of the Astana Process on Syria in Tehran on July 19. In his remarks at the trilateral meeting and at the joint presser, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said the only solution to the Syrian crisis is “a political solution without foreign interference.” He went on to emphasize the “need to maintain territorial integrity and cohesion (and) respect for the national sovereignty and independence of Syria, determining the fate of the country through Syrian-Syrian dialogues and without foreign interference.” Raisi accused the US of “looting (Syria’s) natural resources,” including the country’s oil. The US needs to withdraw its forces from regions of Syria east of the Euphrates River, as part of the Astana peace process for Syria, the Turkish president said. “America has to leave east of the Euphrates now. This is an outcome that came out of the Astana process,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, one day after an Astana process summit with the Russian and Iranian presidents, stressing that his Astana partners agree with this judgement.

TEHRAN LAUNCHES TRADING IN IRANIAN RIAL/RUSSIAN RUBLE

Iran’s Tehran Stock Exchange on July 19 launched trading in Iranian rial/Russian ruble. Some 2 million rubles traded in the Iranian stock market on July 19 – with a ratio of 5,390 rials per ruble. The rial/ruble transactions began in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Iran. Iranian Central Bank Governor Ali Saleh Abadi said the trade with domestic currencies in the foreign exchange market will further strengthen economic relations with Russia. The move may cut the role of other foreign currencies such as US dollar and euro in the Iranian market, he added.

FLOODS KILL AT LEAST 20 IN SOUTHERN IRAN

At least 20 people were killed and three others went missing in flash floods caused by heavy rains in Iran’s southern Fars province, state media said on July 23. Khalil Abdollahi, head of the province’s crisis management department, said heavy rains near Soltan Shahbaz village in the city of Estahban led to the flooding from the Rodbal Dam. Provincial Red Crescent head Huseyin Dervishi said search and rescue efforts are ongoing with 22 teams and 125 people in the field. At least 51 households have been affected, and aid would be delivered to the flood victims, he added.

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