Tunisian Opposition Proposes National Dialogue without the President

Demonstrators carry flags during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of governing powers in Tunis (Reuters)
Demonstrators carry flags during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of governing powers in Tunis (Reuters)
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Tunisian Opposition Proposes National Dialogue without the President

Demonstrators carry flags during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of governing powers in Tunis (Reuters)
Demonstrators carry flags during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of governing powers in Tunis (Reuters)

Opposition parties in Tunisia have proposed to launch a national dialogue without President Kais Saied.

The secretary-general of the Republican Party, Issam Chebbi, told the German News Agency (dpa) that parties discussing the proposal will announce it during a press conference on Thursday.

The initiative is led by social democratic parties, including the Democratic Current, the Democratic Forum for Labor and Freedoms, and the Republican Party.

Chebbi warned that the country is on the verge of collapse, saying: "We believe that the dialogue we have been calling for in the past year is the best solution to get out of the crisis."

Saied, who last year announced extraordinary measures to suspend the parliament and boost his constitutional powers, has so far avoided this demand despite foreign pressure.

The president launched a national consultation through an electronic platform in preparation for a popular referendum on political reforms.

Opposition parties and organizations said that the consultation could not substitute national dialogue.

Chebbi explained that Saied categorically rejected the dialogue.

"We do not want the country to be dependent on the will of one person, nor for dialogue to depend on the president. We are in the process of coordinating our efforts, and we will determine the necessary steps for an inclusive dialogue."

Meanwhile, Tunisia Press Agency (TAP) said authorities suspend flights of the national carrier, Tunisair, between Tunisia and Burkina Faso until further notice.

Four security sources and a diplomat from West Africa said army officials had ousted Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore and detained him in an army camp after heavy gunfire around his house on Sunday evening in the capital Ouagadougou.

The military coup also suspended the country's constitution, dissolved the government, and closed the national borders.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."