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.

 

Hezbollah sends message to Israel ‘conflict is over’

Jordan wants to see proof pilot alive before exchange

Iraq government vows to investigate Diyala massacre

Libyan airline suspends flights

British mosques open doors to reach out to citizens

Israel reduces energy supplies to Palestinians

Syria opposition embassy in Qatar renews passports

Women protest against Egypt police after fatal shooting

MSF withdraws help from two Sudan states

US says thousands of Somali children facing starvation

Kuwait online activists arrested 'over Saudi criticism'

Iran, Europe officials to meet Thursday in Istanbul

IS issues new deadline to kill Jordanian pilot if demand not met

Netanyahu warns Hezbollah will pay 'full price'

African Union sees no military solution to Libya crisis

Yemen powerful militia prevents fresh protest in Sanaa

Iran appoints new UN ambassador after US visa refusal

Pentagon confirms US involvement in talks with Yemen Huthis

Hezbollah missiles threaten to spark new war in volatile region

In new website, France warns would-be jihadists: You will die alone

Israel retaliates against Hezbollah attack

Can Iraqis trust their government to rebuild their country?

Sheikh Ali Salman rejects charges as trial opens in Bahrain

Protesters try to storm UN headquarters in Gaza

UN peacekeeper killed in southern Lebanon amid border clash

Kobane in ruins after symbolic blow to jihadists

Jordan bows to IS demand

Hezbollah claims attack on Israeli military convoy

Somali PM proposes new cabinet list

Syria opposition groups, Assad representatives meet in Moscow

Yemen’s Huthis free top presidential aide

French FM urges international cooperation against extremism

Clock ticking towards 24-hour IS deadline to kill hostages

Obama, Saudi king discuss IS fight, Iran

Nine killed in luxury Tripoli hotel attack

Three killed in Tripoli luxury hotel attack

UN harshly criticises Turkey for deterioration of human rights

‘Islamic State’ gives Jordan 24 hours before execution of hostages

Ex-Shebab chief urges others to surrender in first public appearance

Bomb kills and wounds three terrorists in Egypt's Alexandria

Three killed in protest against MINUSMA in Mali

Humanitarian crisis looms for thousands of families in southern Iraq

Rockets fired from Syria explode in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights

Egypt Grand Mufti condemns actions of Muslim Brotherhood

Residents trickle back to Kobane after expulsion of jihadists