"It is in Tunisia's interest to be part of any initiative regarding Libya "(Jhinaoui)

Foreign Minister Khemais Jhinaoui and his German counterpart Heiko Mass co-chaired a press conference at the Foreign Ministry's headquarters, after a brief bilateral meeting.

During the meeting, both officials discussed bilateral relations and ways to develop cooperation in all fields.

“Germany has provided Tunisia considerable support in its democratic transition process over the last 8 years,” Jhinaoui said.

This is the first visit made by Heiko Mass as Foreign Minister. It took place at a time when Tunisian-German relations are going through “a very positive dynamic,” Jhinaoui added.

He stressed that Tunisia has taken bold steps towards democracy, adding that the results of the presidential elections are the best proof that Tunisia is “on the right path” and it has definitely embraced democracy.

The German Minister reminded that his country is Tunisia’s 3rd economic partner in terms of trade and investment.

Jhinaoui also commended Germany’s contribution to promoting Tunisia’s image as one of the best tourist destinations.

He recalled that Germany, which chaired the G20 summit, supported Tunisia as part of the initiative “Compact with Africa” (a partnership programme between the top 20 most industrialised countries and Africa ) with a grant worth €465 million.

Jhinaoui stressed the importance of boosting bilateral cooperation in the fields of culture, higher education and fight against illegal migration. On the other hand, he called for facilitating legal immigration procedures for young Tunisian graduates.

He indicated that efforts made by succeeding Tunisian governments have not been able to meet Tunisian youths’ expectations in terms of employment.

”Tunisia relies on the understanding and support of Germany and the European Union regarding the employment of Tunisian youths”

Jhinaoui pointed out that President Kaïs Saïed will visit Germany at the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take part in the third session of “Compact with Africa” next November.

According to Jhinaoui, the meeting shed light on bilateral cooperation as part of the UN Security Council as well as the Libyan crisis.

Jhinaoui revealed that Germany has initiated all necessary preparations to host an international conference on Libya. The goal is to find a peaceful political resolution for the Libyan conference.

He reminded of Tunisia’s position on Libyan conflict and its role since the outbreak of the crisis.

"Tunisia helped Libyan brothers overcome their conflict and opt for a peaceful solution as part of a bilateral framework but also as part of the tripartite initiative launched by late President Béji Caïd Essebsi."

"The Libyan issue is very crucial for us as it has social, economic, and political repercussions on Tunisia. It is in the national interest of Tunisia to be part of any initiative concerning Libya, especially that it has its position and vision on the issue.”

He added that "Tunisia and Germany do not have any agenda in Libya except peace. We will help Germany, the United Nations and the international community to find a solution to the Libyan crisis”.  

Jhinaoui said that Germany, France, Italy or also Tunisia could only contribute to encouraging Libyans to reach an inter-Libyan solution.

Answering a question on the fact that Germany did not invite Tunisia to take part in Berlin International Conference on Libya, Jhinaoui said “Germany knows very well Tunisia’s position regarding the German initiative.”

« We understand Germany’s approach and we told them how significant Tunisia’s presence in this conference is.”

Heiko Mass commended Tunisia’s democratic transition process saying that "freedom and democracy are a reality in Tunisia."

He stressed that Germany will continue supporting Tunisia’s democratic process, particularly in fighting corruption and the implementation of the rule of law.

He reminded that Germany is one of Tunisia’s major economic partners with a trade volume estimated at €1.6 billion.

He also spoke of his meeting with President Kaïs Saïed, saying he had extended him an official invitation to attend the 3rd Session of "Compact with Africa" scheduled on November 18-19.

Regarding the Libyan issue, Mass revealed that all the initiatives taken to this end have not resulted in finding a solution for the Libyan crisis, adding that Tunisia will have an important role to fulfill within the framework of a clear political line to achieve lasting peace in Libya.

Germany will provide all necessary conditions to ensure a political solution to the Libyan crisis by offsetting foreign intervention, bringing together armed belligerent forces in Libya and imposing pre-conditions for arms embargo in the country," said Heiko Mass.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is visiting Tunisia on October 27 and 28, as part of his North Africa tour.


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