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Algeria’s President Tebboune Travels to Germany for COVID-19 Related Treatment

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President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of Algeria has travelled for treatment in Germany less than a month after his return from the European nation.

News Central recalls that Tebboune had earlier spent about two months undergoing COVID-19 treatment in Germany last year and only returned to Algeria on December 29, 2020.

However, the 75-year-old president, who also doubles as Algeria’s Minister of Defence, has travelled back to Germany where he will be treated for a foot problem related to the coronavirus infection.

Speaking to state television on Sunday, Tebboune said he might undergo surgery on his foot during his treatment.

“There may be a minor surgery. My return to Germany was previously planned. The period of my absence from the country will be short, God willing,” he said. “I will be following state issues with officials on a daily basis.

The treatment “was not medically urgent” and should have taken place during Tebboune’s last stay in Germany, a statement from the presidency said on Sunday.

The statement added that Tebboune postponed the treatment at the time because of some obligations that prompted him to return home on December 29.

The president’s two-month absence had fuelled speculation over his ability to finish his first term.

“It is hard to be far from one’s country,” Mr Tebboune was quoted as saying upon his return.

He contracted the coronavirus in October when some of his close staff tested positive.

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North Africa Politics

France Will Not Repent, Apologise for Colonial Past in Algeria – Macron

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Emmanuel Macron, the President of France and ex officio co-prince of Andorra, has said he will not repent nor apologise for France’s colonial past in Algeria.

Macron’s office says he will seek to promote reconciliation through a number of symbolic acts.

There will “no repentance nor apologies” for the occupation of Algeria or the bloody eight-year war that ended French rule, Macron’s office said, adding that the French leader would instead take part in “symbolic acts” aimed at promoting reconciliation.

The comments come before the publication later today of a report he commissioned into how France is facing up to the legacy of that period.

Macron had in the past that France had committed crimes against humanity in Algeria, and spoken of the need for truth and reconciliation.

In July, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune had expressed hopes Macron would apologise for France’s 132 years of colonial rule in Algeria and the brutal eight-year war that ended it, have left a legacy of often prickly relations between the two countries.

“We have already had half-apologies. The next step is needed… we await it,” Tebboune said in an interview at the time.

“I believe that with President Macron, we can go further in the appeasement process … he is a very honest man, who wants to improve the situation.”

France’s colonial rule of Algeria began in 1830 and lasted to 1962, when it gained independence after an eight- year armed struggle.

Thousands of French and hundreds of thousands of Algerians died.

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North Africa Politics

President Kais Saied Urges Restraint, 4 Days into Protests in Tunisia

The Tunisian President Kais Saied visited Ariana, a city near the capital Tunis, and asked people not to let others take advantage of their anger and poverty

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The Tunisian President has showed up at a rally where demonstrators were protesting and pleaded with them to put an end to the protests which are already in their fourth consecutive day against the worsening social and economic crisis in the country.

Blocking streets and setting barricades on fire on Monday, demonstrators clashed with police who responded by firing tear gas. The Protests have led to the looting of shops and protesters have thrown stones and Molotov cocktails at official buildings and businesses in some areas.

The Tunisian President Kais Saied visited Ariana, a city near the capital Tunis, and asked people not to let others take advantage of their anger and poverty.

“Through you, I want to speak to all the Tunisian people, I know the state of poverty and I also know who is exploiting your poverty.  Don’t let anyone exploit your misery, don’t attack private or public property. We live today because of moral values and not because of theft or looting,” Saied said to the crowd.

Angry about the high unemployment rate and the financial crisis in the North African nation, Tunisians have protested since Friday in Kasserine, Tunis and several other cities.

On Monday, demonstrators shouted: “Dissolve the parliament, dissolve the parliament.”

In some regions, the defence ministry deployed the army to protect private and public property. It said troops will conduct joint patrols with security forces in the regions of Siliana, Kasserine, Sousse and Bizerte, where police and protesters clashed.

Authorities made 630 arrests linked to the violence on Sunday alone, the interior ministry reported.

Amnesty International has called for restraint, citing footage showing officers beating and manhandling people they had detained. They have also demanded the immediate release of Hamza Nassri Jeridi, a rights activist arrested on Monday.

“Security forces must immediately refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force to disperse protesters in the capital and several governorates against marginalisation, police violence, poverty and lack of job opportunities,” it said.

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Bread Crisis: Libya’s Central Bank Rejects New Letters of Credit for Flour

Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) Al-Siddiq Al-Kabeer emphasised that the letters of credit, which were opened in 2020 for the supply of flour, were appropriate for the amounts consumed in Libya.

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In response to the Head of Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj’s regarding requests for new letters of credit to import flour, the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) Al-Siddiq Al-Kabeer has on Sunday issued a statement.

Al-Kabeer emphasised that the letters of credit, which were opened in 2020 for the supply of flour, were appropriate for the amounts consumed in Libya.

The General Union of Bakers in Tripoli shut down all bakeries in the city on Saturday, citing an increase in the price of ingredients. This move was justified by the union’s head, Saeed Boukhreiss who claimed the new prices were necessary due to the new prices of flour being linked to lack of supply by the mills’ company.  

The Governor explained that the PM’s call represents a grave breach of the country’s financial law and public spending controls, stipulated in the 2015 Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). He further stated that the state’s balance of foreign exchange with the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB) is linked to sovereign revenues.

Al-Kabeer also countered rumours suggesting that it had opened letters of credits for importing unnecessary food items.

He further reminds the GNA officials on their obligation to control the country’s borders and ports to curb the smuggling of subsidised goods, especially flour and fuel.

Bakeries reopened Monday after the Bakers’ Union reached an agreement with the control authorities. Bread prices have been impacted largely by flour shortage, the prices of wheat which increased globally by 40% and the new exchange rate of the Libyan dinar to U.S. dollar on the confectionary sector. Bakeries may face dire straits in the coming months if state authorities do not resolve the problem satisfactorily.

In 2018, inflationary pressure and dwindling oil prices among other factors saw bakeries in Tripoli abruptly shut for two weeks, thereby triggering a food crisis around bread – a staple for many Libyans.

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