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Tunisia Appoints Ambassador To Libya For First Time Since 20141 minute read

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President Kais Saied of Tunisia has appointed Al-Asad Al-Ajili as an ambassador to Libya to be based in Tripoli.

This is the first the country will be sending an envoy to Libya since 2014.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said that the appointment of the ambassador comes as part of the annual diplomatic appointments.

Tunisia also appointed a number of ambassadors to Arab and international countries including Muhammad bin Yusuf as Tunisia’s ambassador to Cairo, Nabil Ammar as ambassador to Brussels, Reza Zqidan as ambassador to Baghdad, and Hashemi Ajili as ambassador to Kuwait.

Tunisia had closed its Tripoli embassy in October 2014, and its Consulate General in July 2015, as a result of deteriorating security conditions and the kidnapping of Tunisian diplomats by suspected Libyan militants and extremists.

Tunisia summoned its, then, ambassador Rida Bukadi over the kidnap of two Tunisian diplomats in Libya.

The Tunisian embassy and consulate were reopened in April 2016 without appointing an ambassador based in Libya.

In 2018, Tawfiq Al-Kasimi was appointed as a consul in Libya.

Last week, Kais Saied and Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Libya, Stephanie Williams, discussed UN’s efforts to achieve a political settlement in Libya.

According to a statement released by the Tunisian presidency, its President expressed his country’s readiness to contribute to relaunching the political process in Libya by hosting a national dialogue that brings together the various components of the Libyan people.

Saied stressed that the solution to the Libyan crisis should be based on the agreement of all its factions away from any foreign interference.

He reiterated Tunisia’s commitment not to interfer in Libya’s internal affairs and to finding peaceful solutions to end the bloodshed in the Libya under the aegis of the UN.

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Interpol Extradites Rape Suspects To Egypt

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Three Egyptian men accused of raping a woman in Cairo’s Fairmont Nile City Hotel have returned to Cairo after their extradition was requested last month by the Egyptian government.

The trio have been handed over to the Egyptian authorities by Interpol.

Ahmed Helmy Toulan, 32, Amr Hussein Mahmoud Ismail, 30, and his brother Khaled Hussein Mahmoud Ismail, 33, were arrested in Lebanon.

Egypt requested for their extradition os they could face rape charges at home.

They are among nine suspects to be charged with the rape of a young woman at Fairmont Nile City Hotel in the capital, Cairo.

The alleged rape involved nine men accused of drugging the woman in 2014.

The case was exposed online in July by an Instagram account that calls out suspected rapists.

Following the request, an investigation was launched by Lebanese security officials. It found that five out of the seven suspects had entered Lebanon in late July and two of them had left, leaving three in Lebanese territory. 

The three fugitives were initially staying at hotels in Lebanon, but had fled, leaving their bags inside the rooms. They were finally tracked down in the village of Fatqa, approximately 30 kilometers northeast of Beirut and were arrested on August 28. 

Two additional suspects in the case were arrested in Egypt in late August. Amir Zayed, arrested August 27, and Omar Hafez, arrested August 30, are currently detained under Egypt’s Public Prosecution laws.

Official investigations into the case began after Public Prosecution received a report on August 4 from Egypt’s National Council for Women, accompanied by a complaint the victim had submitted to the council.

The report features testimonies claiming that the eight young men gang-raped a woman after giving her GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate, also known as the date-rape drug).

The perpetrators also allegedly filmed the gang rape, after which they each signed their name on the victim’s body and then blackmailed same woman using the video.

Witness reports about the incident have circulated on social media, along with demands to arrest the suspects, all of whom belong to wealthy and influential families.

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Egypt’s El-Sissi, Haftar Hold Libya Talks in Cairo

Saleh and Haftar arrived in Cairo on Tuesday on an unannounced visit.

Bernard Akede

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Gen. Khalifa Haftar of Libya was in Cairo on Wednesday to hold talks with the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

In attendance at the meeting were speaker of the east Libya-based parliament, Aquila Saleh, and Egyptian spy chief Abbas Kamel.

Egyptian President Abdelfattah el-Sissi was brought to speed on developments in Libya and the efforts of all parties to implement a cease-fire and advance the peace process under the supervision of the U.N at the meeting.

According to Egyptian media, Saleh and Haftar arrived in Cairo on Tuesday on an unannounced visit. In June last year, El-Sissi met with both men and announced what was known as the Cairo Declaration to solve the Libyan crisis.

(News Break)

While addressing the 75th session of the U.N General Assembly via video link, the Egyptian president said the line extending between Sirte and Jufra is demarcated as a redline in defense of the Egyptian people and national security. El-Sissi also urged all parties involved in the Libyan conflict to return to the political process with the aim of restoring peace, security and stability.

(The Nation)

Gen. Khalifa Haftar and his eastern-based forces have mainly been receiving support from Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while Qatar and Turkey are the main backers of the U.N -recognized legitimate Government of National Accord (GNA).

Russia has been accused of sending mercenaries to Libya in support of Haftar’s troops. The Wagner Group, a Russian private military company active in Libya, Syria and Ukraine, has been accused of playing a key role with its mercenaries in the conflict.

On Wednesday, the United States slapped sanctions on a Russia network tied to a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and on persons accused of assisting Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and helping Moscow evade sanctions.

Three people and two mining companies who work for Yevgeniy Prigozhin were the targets of the first tranche of sanctions. The ally to President Putin who was indicted by U.S Special Counsel Robert Mueller for attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and who is believed to own the Wagner Group.

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North Africa

Algeria Jails Kouninef Brothers in Corruption Scandal Linked to Bouteflika

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An Algerian court has sentenced four members of a billionaire family to jail terms, ranging from 15 to 20 years.

Three brothers in the Kouninef family and their sister bagged their jailed terms for corruption linked to the era of the former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Three brothers – Reda, Noah-Tarek and Abdelkader-Karim Kouninef -received prison sentences of 16, 15 and 12 years respectively, while their sister, Souad, who has fled abroad, was sentenced to 20 years in absentia.

An international arrest warrant has been issued for the fleeing sister.

The Kouninef siblings had been found guilty earlier this month on charges including exerting undue influence and obtaining unfair advantages, money laundering, embezzlement of land and breaches of public works contracts.

Their family owns KouGC Group, a firm specialising in civil engineering, hydraulics and construction.

The trial was the latest in a campaign targeting Bouteflika-era politicians and businessmen accused of corruption, in a bid to prove the current government’s commitment to reform.

The court also fined the brothers 8 million dinars each.

In the same case, a former manager of the KouGC group, Kaddour Ben Tahar was sentenced to eight years in prison and a fine of 8 million dinars.

In addition, the court of Sidi M’hamed ordered the seizure of all the property of the Kouninef brothers.

The KouGC company was also ordered to pay a fine of 32 million dinars.

The three Kouninef brothers, Reda, Tarek and Karim who have been in detention for over a year, have 54 companies located in Algeria.

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