Thunderbolt on relations after a “lie”

Thunderbolt on relations after a “lie”

France is mired in a new episode of tension in the Maghreb, this time with Tunisia. It would seem that the decline of Paris’ influence in Africa is now affecting even North Africa. After a meeting between Tunisian and French officials, two versions collide.

Macronie continues to make diplomatic blunders with the three main Maghreb countries, namely Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. After the reduction of visas which was – in the traditional French position vis-à-vis Tunisia – more lenient with Tunis than the two other neighbors, now disdainful France wanted to give lessons to the country going through a multifactorial crisis.

During a visit by Nabil Ammar, the head of Tunisian diplomacy to France, presumably to try to obtain the support of Paris to release a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), events seemed to have taken place. to have passed well, before the two countries put forward two different versions concerning the subjects discussed of the meeting with his counterpart Catherine Colonna.

In a press release, the Quai d’Orsay indicated that the question of rights and freedoms had been addressed. One sentence too many which immediately provoked a reaction in Tunis. This meeting between the two Foreign Ministers, “was an opportunity to recall France’s attachment to public rights and freedoms all over the world”, mentioned the press release.

But on Twitter, no mention of this phrase was made in the statements of the two officials. Nabil Ammar welcomed an exchange “complete and fruitful”emphasizing “the importance of increased consultation” and the “need for an inclusive approach in dealing with issues related to migration, human mobility, the removal of obstacles relating to the granting of visas to Tunisians and sustainable development”.

For her part, Catherine Colonna said that “France stands alongside Tunisia and the Tunisians, supports the dynamics of reforms, and the development of our relations”.

The day after the press release which spoke of the human rights situation, that is to say Wednesday, May 31, the scathing response from Tunis arrives and shows the new direction taken by Tunisian diplomacy which no longer allows interference in its affairs (updated part when it comes to Algeria).

The Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a statement in turn that the question of “rights and freedoms” had not been addressed and that the diplomat had stressed that on the contrary “Tunisia’s main challenge remains that of economic recovery, and any skeptical message or negative attitude would only further complicate the improvement of socio-economic conditions in the country” and insisted on “the return of political stability”.

Moreover, the Tunisian minister would have even meant it to French senator Christian Chambon (right), who chairs the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Armed Forces in the Senate and the France-Morocco interparliamentary friendship group, according to his say by affirming to him to have “stressed that Tunisia, which does not give lessons to anyone, does not accept any from anyone”.

Tunisia seems to want the “butter and butter money” by seeking the support of France, but refusing any comment on its political situation, criticized on several levels since the tour de force of President Kais Saied in July 2021.

On the other hand, it is very unlikely that the Quai d’Orsay will invent subjects not addressed in its press release, but given the severity of the tone of Tunis’ response, doubts arise as to who is right and who is lied.


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