June 29 – 30, 2020 | Press Review

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

June 30, 2020: Tunisian draft resolution to be adopted Thursday by the Security Council

Tunisia is not losing hope of having the UN Security Council adopt its draft resolution co-sponsored by France calling for a cessation of hostilities to facilitate the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Tunisia’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, Kaïs Kabtani, confirmed to Espace Manager that the text was put to the vote on Tuesday and that Tunisia has managed to reach a historic compromise after very complicated negotiations. Thus, the draft resolution is to be adopted at a meeting on the pandemic to be held the day after tomorrow, Thursday, in the Security Council, hosted by Germany. If that is the case, it will be a great victory for Tunisia, the initiator of the draft resolution, and an indisputable success for the diplomacy led by President Kaïs Saïed. A success to be credited to Ambassador Permanent Representative Kaïs Kabtani, who recently took up his duties. The new draft is, like the previous one, focused on the demand for an immediate and general cessation of hostilities in all conflicts on the Security Council’s agenda, with the exception of fighting against jihadist groups. It calls for a humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days to facilitate international assistance to the population.

In a new development, the preamble of the resolution contains a reminder of a resolution adopted on 2 April by the UN General Assembly on the need for global solidarity to combat the virus. The hope in the Security Council, according to diplomats, is that this reminder will be enough to satisfy both China, which wanted a reference to the WHO, and the United States, which did not want one, blaming the UN agency for poor management of the crisis. The second paragraph of the Assembly’s resolution commits the 193 members of the United Nations to provide all necessary support and cooperation to the World Health Organization. If adopted, the new draft resolution would be the first text on the virus approved by the Security Council and its first real official position since the outbreak of the pandemic. Its paralysis for more than three months has often been denounced and has largely undermined its credibility, with some Council members going so far as to confess their shame. During the negotiations, the United States and China, the two largest financial contributors to the United Nations, had both threatened to use their veto power. On 8 May, Washington had blocked a vote on the text after giving its partners an agreement in principle. It remains to be seen whether a Security Council call for a cessation of hostilities can still have an impact. Although the text may seem late, it is better late than never.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

June 30, 2020: Nizar Yaïche: Urgent decisions to remedy the shortcomings at Tunis Carthage Airport

Decisions will be taken to remedy the shortcomings at Tunis-Carthage International Airport and will be announced on Tuesday 30 June or Wednesday 1 July, Finance Minister Mohamed Nizar Yaiche announced on Monday 29 June. During a visit on Monday afternoon at the Tunis-Carthage International Airport in the company of the Ministers of Transport and Logistics, Mohamed Anour Maarouf, and Tourism and Handicrafts, Mohamed Ali Toumi, where they noted a number of shortcomings related mainly to baggage handling, lack of equipment and work organization. On this occasion, Maarouf noted shortcomings in the handling of travelers’ luggage, including the accumulation of some suitcases and boxes in a corner of the belt of luggage. He asked airport officials for a detailed report on the negligence of this luggage, saying that “baggage handling is a priority and we do not tolerate any failures in this area”.

Ridha Nasri, the regional general secretary of the United Customs Union, told TAP that the luggage is in transit and was brought to the airport well before the airport was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The three ministers also expressed their satisfaction with the respect of health measures during the reception of travellers, all of whom were wearing masks, noted the TAP correspondent on the spot. The Minister of Tourism, for his part, welcomed the conditions of reception of passengers at the international airport of Tunis-Carthage, noting “a fluidity in the reception of travellers and the respect of sanitary procedures”. Toumi evoked, on this occasion, the size of the international airport of Tunis-Carthage, which extends over a small area, whereas it constitutes the first and the last point of contact for the tourist and therefore must reflect a good image of the country and requires greater attention at all levels.

Tunisia reopened its air, sea and land borders on Saturday, June 27, 2020 with the aim, in particular, of saving the tourist sector severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis (COVID-19). The country is preparing for the revival of tourist activities, after having adopted several health measures, including, mainly, the Tunisian anti-COVID-19 tourism health protocol ” (250 hygiene instructions), drawn up by the Ministry of Tourism, in accordance with the recommendations of the WHO and the Ministry of Health. It should be recalled that the commander of Tunis-Carthage airport, Neji Zitoun, had declared on 27 June 2020 that only 30% of flights have been authorized following the reopening of the airspace and all the borders of Tunisia until 11 July 2020. And to add that 5 flights were scheduled daily to Paris against 15 previously.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

June 29, 2020: New wave of contamination starting next fall

Tunisia will not be safe from a second wave of coronavirus by COVID-19 as early as next autumn. And this, after the reopening of borders, according to the Minister of Health, Abdellatif Mekki. Abdellatif Mekki said that climate change has a direct effect on the spread of COVID-19. And this, despite the opinion of most scientists. Those who have claimed that falling temperatures have no impact on the pandemic. The minister noted the need to prepare properly for this new wave. Through compliance with preventive measures. Namely, wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing… He explained that international organizations had raised the possibility of a second wave. This was in view of the health situation in the world. He added that Tunisia is closely following the evolution of the pandemic at the regional level and in all countries of the world. In response to questions about the risks of contamination after the borders reopened on June 27, Mekki said it is no longer possible to continue closing borders. Even if citizens’ fears are justified.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

June 29, 2020: Maritime Crossing Health Protocol

The opening of air and sea borders on Saturday 27 June 2020 was accompanied by health protocols for air, land and sea links. In the specific context of sea crossings, the Tunisian Navigation Company (CTN) has just launched its health protocol, including a set of measures and procedures to be followed by passengers during check-in, boarding, and during the crossing on board ships. This protocol, designed to mitigate the risk of coronavirus spread, is based on rules and instructions defined by the International Maritime Organization, the World Health Organization and the Tunisian structures concerned. Thus, the CTN indicates that for countries belonging to the “green zone”, the COVID-19 RT-PCR screening test is not required.

As regards the “orange zone”, a negative result of the COVID-19 RT-PCR virological screening test must be obtained 72 hours prior to embarkation, and no more than 120 hours after disembarkation”. For travellers from “red zone” countries, passengers must carry, in addition to a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR virological test result, a voucher for a confirmed hotel reservation for one week. In this specific case, the CTN points out that for passengers arriving by car, a third person is required to pick up the car at the port”. It also specifies that the list of hotels for containment will be circulated shortly by the Tunisian Health Authorities).

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.