Tunisian president, French FM discuss bilateral cooperation, Libyan peace

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Boosting bilateral ties and building a permanent peace in Libya were two of the main topics discussed during a meeting on Thursday between Tunisian President Kais Saied and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The two sides discussed the need to strengthen and diversify their relationship, especially in the fight against terrorism and extremism, the Tunisian presidency said in a statement.

Saied reiterated his country’s condemnation of the terrorist knife attack targeting a teacher named Samuel Paty in northwestern Paris a few days ago.

The Tunisian president called for a new approach based mainly on the fight against the root causes of terrorism. “Tunisia, in its turn, suffers from serious manifestations of extremism,” he was quoted as saying.

Saied also discussed with Le Drian the success of Tunisian diplomacy in organizing a dialogue between the Libyan parties at the beginning of November, stressing the need for Libyans to find solutions that express only the will of the Libyan people.

“Tunisia categorically rejects any division of Libya,” Saied said, adding that “our country is one of the countries most affected by the situation in this brotherly and neighboring country.”

The two sides then discussed the preparation underway for holding the Francophonie Summit, scheduled for 2021 on the island of Djerba in southeastern Tunisia.

For his part, Le Drian praised the distinguished partnership between the two countries, while announcing that France will send medical aid worth 500,000 euros (about 590,000 U.S. dollars) to Tunisia within the framework of bilateral cooperation to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and intends to finance the construction of a hospital in Gafsa province in southwestern Tunisia.

He also announced the signing of two agreements, the first for granting 100 million euros to Tunisia as the first part of a program to support its economic reform, and the second for granting 38 million euros to strengthen the water supply in the Grand Tunis area

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