Weekly News 22 – 26 October 2018 | Mediterranean Affairs


Monday, 22 October 2018

Affaire Khashoggi: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said the country was raising oil production to record levels, signalling the country had “no intention” of using its power as the world’s largest crude exporter to push back against international pressure following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Financial Times)

Tunisia: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in France on Sunday to begin a two-day visit aimed at “reaffirming French-Tunisian friendship and trust and France’s support for reforms underway to consolidate the country’s political and economic transition”, according to a statement by the French Embassy in Tunisia. (ANSAmed)

Israel: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday declared that Israel had exhausted efforts at reaching an arrangement with the Hamas terror group to end months of violence along the border with the Gaza Strip, and that the time had come for the cabinet to make a decision on military action. (The Times of Israel)

Gaza: Hamas said that Egypt is seeking an internal reconciliation between Palestinian factions before reaching a truce with Israel. Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq told Ma’an that the Egyptian mediators prefer that a Palestinian reconciliation be achieved before a truce is reached with Israel, although they are not imposing this as a condition. (Middle East Monitor)

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Tunisia: The Tunisian Company of Petroleum Activities (ETAP) on Tuesday announced the launch of a two-year program to drill 20 oil wells in order to increase crude oil production in the country. (ANSAmed)

Italy: The European commission is at loggerheads with Rome after taking the unprecedented step of rejecting the Italian government’s draft budget in a move designed to force the country’s populist government to rein in its spending. Italy was presented with a three-week deadline to provide a revised financial plan, and the commission’s vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, noted that Italy already spent more servicing debt than it did on education. (The Guardian)

France: French police on Tuesday morning cleared between 1,800 and 2,000 people from the migrant camp Grande-Synthe, near the port city of Dunkirk in northern France. The migrants were taken to other centers in northern France. (ANSAmed)

Libya: Graffiti covers the ruins of Cyrene in eastern Libya, a city founded by Greeks more than 2,600 years ago that once attracted tourists but is now neglected and the target of vandals. (Reuters)

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Affaire Khashoggi: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia would not have murdered prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi without American protection, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). (Reuters)

Italy: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday that EU sanctions against Russia had to come to an end, but declined to say if his government was ready to veto any further rollover of the economic curbs. (Reuters)

EU: The European Parliament has voted to ban a range of single-use plastics such as straws, cotton buds and cutlery and to ensure most bottles are recycled in a bid to curb ocean pollution. Under the proposal, 10 single-use plastic products would be banned by 2021 and EU states obliged to recycle 90% of plastic bottles by 2025. (CNN)

Nuclear Threat: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Wednesday that if the United States deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will have to target the nations that would host them. The stern statement follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement over the weekend that he intends to opt out of a 1987 nuclear arms control pact over alleged Russian violations. (Washington Post)

Libya: Libya held a rare oil conference in the eastern city of Benghazi on Wednesday as its state oil firm NOC reached out to a region home to a parallel government backing a rival oil firm. (Reuters)

West Bank: A 24-year-old Palestinian, Mohammed Bisharat, was shot and killed last night in the West Bank village Tammun, WAFA reported on Wednesday.  The incident occurred during clashes between local residents and the Israeli police. The Israeli military spokesman confirmed that an army unit had been engaged in operations in Tammun. The soldiers, the spokesman said, had to deal with about 50 Palestinians who threw stones and shot fireworks at them. (ANSAmed)

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Algeria: Algeria’s lower house of parliament elected on Wednesday Mouad Bouchareb as its new speaker to replace Said Bouhadja, whom it accused of mismanagement. Deputies of the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) and its coalition partner, the Democratic National Rally, accused Bouhadja, who is around 80, of mismanagement in the job of speaker. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Balkan Route: A reported 200 migrants in Bosnia-Herzegovina clashed with police while trying to cross the Croatian border crossing of Maljevac, in Velika Kladusa (north-west) and the border pass is now blocked. The migrants pushed through a police cordon before being stopped by another one outside the border crossing. (ANSAmed)

Spain: Former managing director of the International Monetary Fund and ex-finance minister of Spain Rodrigo Rato began a four-year stint in prison on Thursday (25 October) over his involvement in the so-called ‘black cards’ case. (EurActiv)

Friday, 26 October 2018

Jordan: Rescuers combed the shores of Jordan’s Dead Sea resort area early on Friday to find survivors after rain storms unleashed flash floods that killed at least 18 people, mostly school children during an outing. (Reuters)

France: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he regretted Belgium’s decision to choose Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth jets over the Eurofighter Typhoon planes. “It’s a decision that was the result of a process which I greatly respect and which was linked to political constraints specific to Belgium, which are not for me to comment upon, but strategically it goes against European interests,” said Macron at a news conference held with Slovakia President Andrej Kiska. (FRANCE24)

Greece: A powerful earthquake shook western Greece early on Friday, damaging a port and a 15th century monastery, but causing no major injuries, officials and local media said. (Reuters)

Turkey: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Saudi Arabia Friday to disclose who ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, as well as the location of his body, heightening international pressure on the kingdom to come clean on the case. (The Daily Star)