France always there to support Tunisia, says President
Tunisia – Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, following his meeting with Mr Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister of Tunisia
Paris, 10 November 2016
Ladies and gentlemen,
This morning I had a meeting with Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed; it was his first visit here to France with members of his government, his first visit to Europe, and I assured him of France’s utmost support, because in the situation we’re experiencing, France is there and alongside Tunisia. It always has been there: when it was necessary to support the political process, which was exemplary and which ensured Tunisia could carry out its revolution, its transition, its elections, and establish its institutions while becoming a benchmark for the world, to such an extent that the Nobel [Peace] Prize was awarded to the famous Quartet, which was regarded as a symbol. France is there and always has been there to support Tunisian democracy’s efforts to develop. We issued – I myself announced it – an exceptional plan for Tunisia by the French Development Agency, ensuring it could now deploy its resources for very practical projects in Tunisia. France is there because it’s Tunisia’s main partner, main investor, main donor, and we think Tunisia is a country with considerable strengths which must be supported by our businesses, and that’s also the purpose of the contacts made by the Prime Minister with French businesses, and we encourage them to invest in Tunisia.
We’re also paying special attention because France is also there for security, in relation, sadly, to the difficult times Tunisia and France have been through, with the murderous terrorist acts in our respective countries and the situation in the region, and what’s happening in Libya, which requires us to find solutions for that country neighbouring Tunisia. We’re acting to support Prime Minister Sarraj and ensure there can be unity and an end to these conflicts, because the fight against terrorism is a dimension of our relationship. France supports, trains, equips Tunisia when it’s called on to [help it] face up – ever more effectively – to terrorism.
Lastly, France is there and will be there for the great event that Tunisia 2020 will be, because that’s where investors from all over the world will show that Tunisia is moving forwards, that Tunisia isn’t only an area where freedom reigns, where reforms have been accomplished, where tourism is picking up again, but that Tunisia has considerable capacity for growth and development.
That’s what I wanted to say: there are uncertainties, there’s a situation that has just occurred in the United States, France is there, it’s playing its role fully and will shoulder its responsibilities everywhere. We’re also showing this with regard to Tunisia, just as we’re showing it with regard to situations where there may be major risks for peace. But France is also there to act on the development front, and what we’re doing for Tunisia is an example of that. What we’re going to embark on in Africa, including with COP22 in Marrakesh, will be a new demonstration of this. France is also there to support all efforts for security and to combat terrorism. Finally, France is there to uphold values, principles, ideals, and particularly those of democracy, and we’ve demonstrated this once again in working with Tunisia. That’s why, in a context where a lot of people are questioning things, there’s one certainty: that France is there and is playing its role. Thank you./.