Caid Essebsi-Macron: framework agreement to combat terrorism and step up economic co-operation | Tunisia News Gazette

Caid Essebsi-Macron: framework agreement to combat terrorism and step up economic co-operation

The upcoming signing of a framework agreement between Tunisia and France on the fight against terrorism and stepping up economic co-operation, particularly in the health, agriculture, tourism, digital and energy sectors were the highlights of the meeting between President Beji Caid Essebsi and French President Emmanuel Macron held Monday afternoon at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

At a joint press conference held at the end of this meeting, the two presidents stressed the convergence of views on the Libyan and al-Quds issues, affirming the common will to preserve the integrity of the Libyan territory and to find a fair solution to the problem of al-Quds.

President Macron announced that he will make a state visit to Tunisia, at the invitation of President Caid Essebsi, on February 1 and 2, 2018.

He praised the choices made by Tunisia to build the rule of law and democracy, citing ongoing reforms, including the issue of gender equality in inheritance.

He said the relations with Tunisia are a priority, reiterating the desire to remain the country’s first economic partner and strengthen economic co-operation, particularly through the French Development Agency (AFD), but also in the areas of education, vocational training and fight against emigration.

Asked about Tunisia’s blacklisting as tax haven by the European Union, Macron said France has managed to introduce a clause of review of commitments allowing Tunisia to be removed from the list in the coming weeks, without waiting for the next revision of the list in a year.

He, in this regard, welcomed the efforts made by Tunisia to meet the criteria of the EU.

Regarding the conversion of part of Tunisia’s debt into development projects, the French president said he was ready to move discussions to this direction, possibly towards projects in the fields of education and higher Education.

He also welcomed the initiative of President Caid Essebsi to host a summit of the Francophonie within two years.

President Beji Caid Essebsi commented on Tunisia’s inclusion on the list of tax havens, saying it is an unfair decision that affects the image of the country.

We will do our utmost to make decision-makers within the European Union reverse their decision, and we are counting on France’s support in this regard.

Concerning debt conversion, the head of state reminded that France is the first creditor of Tunisia, hoping to see the bilateral talks lead to a new debt conversion in new development projects, in light of President Macron’s upcoming trip to Tunisia.

Asked about US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise al-Quds as the capital of Israel, Caid Essebsi said “this is an initiative contrary to international law.”

He recalled that al-Quds has a special status since 1947 that had been approved by the United States and the former Soviet Union and confirmed in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Al-Quds is not an Israeli-Palestinian problem alone, because it is assumed by the Arab and Muslim peoples, he said, saying that the US initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “has had its day.”

The head of state considered that “it is important to reflect quickly, because the situation will deteriorate and violence will prevail over reason”.

Source: TAP News Agency

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