Trump discusses possible mutual defense treaty with Israel's Netanyahu

US President Donald Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday about a possible mutual defense treaty between the two nations. (File/Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2019

Trump discusses possible mutual defense treaty with Israel's Netanyahu

  • The timing of Trump's tweet appeared aimed at buttressing Netanyahu's effort to remain in power by showcasing his close ties to Trump
  • Opinion polls predict a close race, five months after an inconclusive election in which Netanyahu declared himself the winner but failed to put together a coalition government

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a possible mutual defense treaty between the two nations, a move that could bolster Netanyahu's re-election bid just days before Israelis go to the polls.
"I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries," Trump said on Twitter.

He added that he looked forward to continuing those discussions later this month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.
The timing of Trump's tweet, just days before Israel's election on Tuesday, appeared aimed at buttressing Netanyahu's effort to remain in power by showcasing his close ties to Trump.
Opinion polls predict a close race, five months after an inconclusive election in which Netanyahu declared himself the winner but failed to put together a coalition government.
Netanyahu's Likud party is running neck-and-neck with the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who has focused heavily on looming corruption charges Netanyahu faces.
Trump previously bolstered Netanyahu's candidacy when he recognized Israel's claim of sovereignty over the Golan Heights ahead of the elections earlier this year.
Some Israeli officials have promoted the idea of building on Netanyahu's strong ties to the Trump administration by forging a new defense treaty with the United States, focused especially on guarantees of assistance in any conflict with Iran.
But some of Netanyahu's critics have argued that such an agreement could tie Israel’s hands and deny it military autonomy.


Tunisian premier announces major cabinet reshuffle

Updated 36 min 29 sec ago

Tunisian premier announces major cabinet reshuffle

  • The new line-up, which does not include any women, must be approved by parliament
  • “The aim of this reshuffle is to achieve greater efficiency in the work of the government,” Mechichi said

TUNIS: Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announced on Saturday a major cabinet reshuffle affecting 12 ministries, in the wake of high-profile sackings.
“The aim of this reshuffle is to achieve greater efficiency in the work of the government,” Mechichi said at a press conference in the capital Tunis.
The new line-up, which does not include any women, must be approved by parliament.
A few hours before the announcement, Mechichi had met with President Kais Saied, who insisted the “integrity” of proposed ministers should “raise no doubt,” according to a statement from the presidency.
“There is no place (in the government) for people who are subject to legal proceedings” or to “doubts about their background or their behavior that could undermine the state and the credibility of its institutions and the legitimacy of its decisions,” Saied said.
One of the officials to be replaced is former environment minister Mustapha Aroui, who was sacked and arrested in December in a scandal over hundreds of containers of household waste shipped from Italy.
Chiheb Ben Ahmed, CEO of the Tunisian Export Promotion Center (CEPEX), was proposed as his replacement.
Cabinet chief Walid Dhahbi has been put forward as interior minister to replace Taoufik Charfeddine.
The former lawyer and pillar of Saied’s election campaign was sacked earlier this month over high-level staffing changes he sought to make to some security agencies, according to a previous statement from Mechichi.
The reshuffle also impacts the ministries of health, justice, industry, energy and agriculture.
Ten years after the uprising that led to the fall of long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has successfully transformed into a democracy — albeit one still riven by corruption and economic pain.
The country has had nine governments in 10 years, but the transfers of power have been peaceful.
However, since a general election in 2019, the political class has been more fragmented than ever and paralyzed by infighting, fueling discontent over the continued economic malaise, which has been exacerbated by the novel coronavirus pandemic.