Israeli PM Netanyahu’s trial to start March 17: ministry

In this file photo taken on February 16, 2020 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on February 16, 2020.(AFP)
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Updated 18 February 2020

Israeli PM Netanyahu’s trial to start March 17: ministry

  • The announcement comes as Netanyahu's campaigns ahead of March 2 elections

JERUSALEM: The trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges will open on March 17, the justice ministry said Tuesday.
It said the indictment would be read by judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman in the presence of Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
The announcement comes as the 70-year-old prime minister campaigns ahead of March 2 elections, Israel’s third in less than a year, after two previous polls resulted in a deadlock between Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz.
Gantz had refused after September elections to join a unity government led by Netanyahu, saying he must first settle his differences with the judiciary before taking power.
Netanyahu was charged in the autumn last year with bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit formally presented the charge sheet to the Jerusalem district court on January 28 after Netanyahu had withdrawn a request seeking parliamentary immunity lodged earlier that month.
His opponents had already mustered a majority in the legislature to deny him immunity.
Netanyahu is Israel’s only head of government to have been indicted during his term in office.
Under Israeli law, a sitting prime minister is only required to step down once convicted of an offense and after all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.
Netanyahu denies the charges and says he is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt.


France, Algeria pledge to relaunch relations after rift

Updated 03 June 2020

France, Algeria pledge to relaunch relations after rift

  • Macron spoke by phone Tuesday with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune
  • They spoke “in a spirit of friendship” and “mutual respect for the others’ sovereignty”

ALGIERS: The French and Algerian presidents have pledged to “relaunch” relations after a week-long diplomatic rift that led to the recall of the Algerian ambassador to Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone Tuesday with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune, discussing the coronavirus crisis and conflicts in Libya and the Sahel, said the Elysee Palace.
They spoke “in a spirit of friendship” and “mutual respect for the others’ sovereignty” and “affirmed their willingness to work together for the stability and security of the region,” it said.
“They also agreed to work toward a peaceful relationship and an ambitious relaunch of bilateral cooperation in all areas.”
Algeria said both sides agreed to “give a positive boost” to relations “on a sustainable foundation capable of guaranteeing mutual common interest and full respect for the distinctiveness and sovereignty of each of the two countries.”
The phone talk appeared to put an end to a diplomatic crisis triggered by the broadcast on French television of documentaries on the “Hirak” anti-government protest movement in Algeria.
Algiers had recalled its ambassador in Paris, Salah Lebdioui, for consultations, denouncing one of the films for “attacks on the Algerian people and its institutions,” including the army.
Earlier in the year, Tebboune had called for “mutual respect” in Franco-Algerian relations, saying his country “will not accept any interference or tutelage” from abroad.
The leaders agreed to coordinate on working to restore security and stability in the region in regards to Libya and the Sahel region, the Algerian statement added.
Algeria’s neighbor Libya has been mired in conflict since the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with two rival administrations and multiple militias currently struggling for power.
France and five Sahel nations — including three of Algeria’s immediate neighbors — pledged earlier this year to bolster efforts against jihadists waging an increasingly deadly insurgency.