Italian PM Says EU Will Send Aid Package to Tunisia

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Tunisian PM (File photo: EPA)
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Tunisian PM (File photo: EPA)
TT

Italian PM Says EU Will Send Aid Package to Tunisia

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Tunisian PM (File photo: EPA)
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Tunisian PM (File photo: EPA)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Friday that the leaders of Italy, the Netherlands, and the European Commission would likely announce an EU aid package for Tunisia during an upcoming visit during the weekend.

Meloni, her Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, and President of EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Tunisia Sunday to discuss removing obstacles hindering Tunisia's access to International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans.

She said that the expected EU aid package would pave the way for obtaining IMF funding.

"It seems to me that important steps forward are being taken," Meloni said.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting in Rome with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Meloni said she was confident a deal could be reached between the IMF and Tunisia.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian Ministry of Defense announced Friday that four Tunisian soldiers died in a military helicopter crash into the sea on Wednesday.

The ministry said it had lost contact with the helicopter after it went missing while on a flight mission on Wednesday near Bizerte.

According to the Ministry, the units are still searching for the dead soldiers after they recovered two bodies and parts of the helicopter's wreckage.

Also, President Kais Saied discussed the incident with the Minister of Defense, Imed Memmiche.

The President called for the necessity of renewing the Tunisian military equipment, considering that such incidents, which can occur in any country, unfortunately, occur in Tunisia due to the erosion of the equipment, which led to and continues to lead to such tragedies.

In October 2021, three soldiers were killed when an army helicopter crashed during a night exercise in the southern province of Gabes.

A year early, a soldier was killed when his warplane crashed in the Remada region, in the far south of Tunisia. In 2018, two soldiers were killed when a training plane crashed in Sfax, east of Tunisia.

The most significant accident dates back to 2002, when a military helicopter carrying the military leaders crashed, killing 13 Tunisian soldiers in the Medjez el-Bab area.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
TT

UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.