First Published: 2013-01-13

 

Marzouki: Tunisia becoming arms corridor for Malian jihadists

 

Premiers of Algeria, Libya Tunisia seal pact to secure their borders against arms trafficking.

 

Middle East Online

Guarded response on French intervention in Mali

TUNIS - President Moncef Marzouki said on Saturday Tunisia was becoming a "corridor" for arms to Islamist militants in Mali, as the premiers of Algeria, Libya and Tunisia sealed a pact to secure their borders against arms trafficking.

"The situation in Mali has always worried us because we have begun to understand that our our jihadists, quote unquote, have ties with these terrorist forces," Marzouki told France 24 television on the eve of the second anniversary of his country's Arab Spring revolution.

"We have the impression that Tunisia is becoming a corridor for Libyan weapons to these regions," said Marzouki, whose country borders Libya but not Mali.

He was referring to arms from the arsenal of former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi that he said are reaching Islamists in northern Mali via Tunisia and Algeria, the latter of which shares borders with Mali.

"We are monitoring very closely what is happening in that hornet's nest because it is a hornet's nest that can threaten the security of all the countries, including Tunisia," he said.

In that vein, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia struck an 11-point plan, signed by their respective premiers, Ali Zeidan, Abdelmalek Sella and Hamadi Jebali, to secure their borders, during a meeting in the Libyan oasis of Ghadames.

The three pledged in a statement to "create common border checkpoints and intensify cooperation in the security sphere through joint patrols," and vowed as well to tackle organised crime and terrorism.

The premiers also addressed the crisis in Mali.

"It is necessary to find a political solution to this crisis by fostering dialogue between the different parties in Mali to preserve the sovereignty and unity of its territory," a statement said.

Libya's Zeidan told journalists the "situation in Mali has made it necessary for us to meet in order to prevent and tackle its consequences."

It requires close "coordination between our military and intelligence services to prevent anything that might affect our security, the movement of persons, arms and drugs trafficking, terrorism and human trafficking," he said.

In December, Libya decided to close the country's borders with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan, decreeing the oil-rich south a military zone, in a move seen by analysts as a response to the crisis in Mali.

The Libyan conflict that ousted Moamer Gathafi in 2011 saw arms and fighters scattered across the region, notably to Mali, where Islamist militants have occupied the north.

At the same time, southern Libya has been plagued by unrest.

In his remarks to France 24, Marzouki gave a guarded response when asked to comment on the French military intervention in Mali.

"The situation is so complex. Of course we would have preferred a politically negotiated solution," he said.

Mali has been in turmoil since three Islamist groups, among them Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, seized control of the country's north after a coup in March.

Backed by French air power, Mali unleashed a counter-attack against the Islamists this week, recapturing a town lost to the rebels as they advanced south from their northern strongholds.

 

Syria Foreign Minister in Iran to discuss situation in Middle East

Nusra Front captures more US-trained rebels in northwestern Syria

Yemen retakes biggest airbase from rebels

'New PKK attacks' target security forces in southeastern Turkey

Mediterranean migrant deaths reach tragic milestone in 2015

Violence in Yemen pushes health system to the brink of collapse

Israel court orders extremist Jewish leader to be kept in detention

Suspect in Kuwait mosque attack admits affiliation with ISIS

Head of Taliban's Qatar office quits as leadership rift deepens

Amnesty accuses Sudan of 'war crimes' in South Kordofan

Officials in Damascus play down US warning to Syria regime

Turkish air strikes increase pressure on Iraq Kurdish leadership

British oil company investigated for Somalia corruption

EU to Turkey: Be proportionate in your response to PKK

Two Turkish soldiers killed in new PKK attack

Britain extends air strikes in Iraq by a year

US may take 'additional steps' to defend allied fighters in Syria

Israel ex-security chiefs to Netanyahu: Accept Iran deal as ‘fait accompli’

Turkey will do 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants

US agrees to ‘expedite’ arms sales to Gulf countries

President of Iraq Kurdistan vows to avenge Yazidi minority

PKK claims deadly suicide bombing against troops in eastern Turkey

Sudan rebels offered guarantees to attend talks

Pro-Hadi forces target rebel-held base as coalition forces enter Aden

Israel's president threatened over 'Jewish Terrorism' comments

French beach returns to public after departure of Saudi King

Syria army plane crashes in rebel-held town of Ariha

Iran bans newspaper owned by nuclear deal critic

More Yemen refugees look for shelter in Djibouti

Erdogan: Putin may give up on Assad

Yemen rebel leader says political settlement still possible

Egypt leader amends electoral law

Saudi king cuts short French Riviera holiday

Kerry in Qatar for talks on Iran nuclear deal

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya