March 16th – 20th

Monday, 16th March 2015
ISRAEL – Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu Netanyahu said in an interview on the Israeli website NRG that if he reelected, he will oppose the birth of a Palestinian state. He added Israel faced international pressure to restore its 1967 borders and the division of Jerusalem. The unity of Jerusalem will be maintained “in all its parts” as Israel continues to “build and strengthen” the city to prevent any future division. (ANSAmed)
SYRIA – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dismissed remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Assad should be included in negotiations to reach a political transition, saying “declarations from outside do not concern us”. Kerry said the United States and other countries, which he did not name, were exploring ways to revive the diplomatic process to end the conflict in Syria, which has left more than 200,000 people dead and displaced about half the population. (Reuters)
BOSNIA – EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini unblocked Bosnia’s eventual path to the EU, agreeing to sign off on an economic and trade pact with the country after its leaders pledged to implement a range of political and other reforms. It is the first concrete step between the EU and Bosnia, which has suffered for economic stagnation and deep ethnic and political divisions since the end of its bloody civil war in 1995. (ANSAmed)

Thursday, 17th March 2015
ISRAEL – Election Day. Six million Israelis will go to election polls today to elect 120 members to the Knesset in Jerusalem, and to choose a new Prime Minister between current Premier and Likud party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Isaac Herzog of Zionist Union. Polls opened at 7 am (6 am in Italy) and will close at 10pm on Tuesday night, at which time, three Israeli national television networks will announcing their exit polling. (ANSAmed)
TUNISIA – The EU and Tunisia signed on Tuesday a protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement paving the way for Tunisia to take part in a series of EU programs. “Today we signed a very important protocol which will pave the way for Tunisia to take part in a series of EU programs which I’m sure will be of great benefit to the people of Tunisia and the people of the EU”, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini told a press conference after the signing ceremony. (
GREECE – Social Democrats and Greens break ranks with Merkel as relations between Berlin and Athens deteriorate over Greek attempts to renegotiate bailout terms. The Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras has accused Germany of using tricks to avoid paying reparations. Relations between Germany and Greece have deteriorated as Athens tries to renegotiate its bailout terms and Berlin fears it will ditch previously agreed financial promises. (TheGuardian)

Wednesday, 18th March 2015
ISRAEL – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory in Israel’s election after exit polls showed he had erased his center-left rivals’ lead with a hard rightward shift in which he abandoned a commitment to negotiate a Palestinian state. Difficult coalition talks still lie ahead. Isaac Herzog, Netanyahu’s chief opponent and head of the center-left Zionist Union, said “everything is still open” and that he already had spoken to party leaders about forming a government. (Reuters)
GERMANY – Anti-capitalist protesters clashed with riot police near the new headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt on Wednesday and set fire to barricades and cars, casting a pall over the ceremonial opening of the billion-euro skyscraper. (Reuters)
TUNISIA – Tunis museum attack: 20 people have been killed in Tunisia after two gunmen stormed the Bardo National Museum – one of the country’s leading tourist attractions in the capital, Tunis – sparking a three-hour siege and hostage situation. (TheGuardian)

Tuesday, 19th March
TUNISIA – The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack in Tunisia’s National Bardo Museum that left 23 people dead and about 50 injured. In an audio and written statement posted online, IS regarded the two attackers as “knights armed with automatic weapons and grenades.” The group also promised more attacks. President Beji Caid Essebsi held an emergency council meeting, calling for better coordination between the army, national guard and the police. Tunisian local media dubbed the attack as “the most deadly in the North Africa nation in more than a decade.” (ForeignPolicynews)
LIBYA – Al Jazeera television reported that the Libyan Air Force “Khalifa Haftar warplanes bombed Mitiga airport”. Following an air force raid on Zintan airport, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, Bernardino Léon, said attacks on facilities represented “a deliberate attempt to undermine efforts to find a political solution to the Libyan conflict”. A new round of “political dialogue” between the pro-Islamic government in Tripoli and the Tobruk government recognized by the international community mediated by the UN will start in Morocco on Thursday. (ANSAmed)

Friday, 20th March
YEMEN – Four suicide bombers blasted themselves in three mosques frequented by Shiites in northern Yemen – two in Sanaa and one in Saada. At least, 137 died and 345 were wounded in Sanaa, while in Saada just the attacker died, according to Al Masirah television, which is property of Houthi rebels who control the Yemeni capital. ISIS militiamen, who are Sunni, claimed responsibility for the massacres. (ANSAmed)
TUNISIA – About one hundred people demonstrated against terrorism in the central Avenue Bourghiba in the heart of Tunis. A banner opening the demonstration read: “terrorism is neither Muslim nor Tunisian”. The march takes place on the 59th anniversary of the country’s independence. (ANSAmed)
GREECE – The European Union has two billion euros ready for Greece to use in projects that would boost the country’s economic growth potential, cut youth unemployment and help the poorest citizens, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. The Commission has already set up a team of officials to help Greece absorb the money as part of its efforts to help alleviate what Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras calls a “humanitarian crisis” after years of recession, Juncker told a news conference. (Reuters)

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