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France backs new Tunisia government

By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 09/01/12

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French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe last week urged Tunisia to uphold human rights and pledged France's full backing for the new government.

"We fully support the democratic process taking place here in Tunisia because it is based on our shared values: the rule of law and respect for public and private freedoms, human rights and the rights of women," he said during his two-day visit to Tunis, which ended on Friday (January 6th).

Juppe added that his country was not "worried" about respect for these principles in Tunisia and voiced confidence in Tunisia's democratic transition.

France's top diplomat met with Tunisian Interim Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, President Moncef Marzouki, Constituent Assembly Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar and his counterpart Rafik Abdessalam.

Commenting on the electoral gains of Islamist parties in the region, he said that "Islam and democracy are not mutually exclusive and indeed are in agreement".

However, France "condemns violence and does not accept extremism in its various forms", Juppe added.

"The friendship between France and Tunisia has become stronger than ever," he said, adding that his country will work to establish "a really equal partnership" with Tunisia.

He explained that this partnership is of important political dimensions, as the experience of democratic transition in Tunisia can be a model in the region.

In terms of economic co-operation, France seeks to help Tunisia achieve growth, the foreign minister vowed.

The French government developed an action plan to accompany Tunisia in its course of development, he announced. The approach aims to spur French investments in Tunisia and encourage French nationals to pick Tunisia as an attractive tourist destination that provides safe and stable conditions.

France last April vowed to provide material aid to Tunisia valued at 350 million euros.

"The French promises have been fulfilled so far, where we spent 180 million euros, with the remaining portion to be spent in 2012," he said.

For his part, the Tunisian foreign minister expressed satisfaction with the convergence of views between the two countries, pointing out that there is agreement from both sides to develop economic and cultural co-operation in the coming period.

Abdessalam revealed that there is a programme to establish a Tunisian-French-Libyan partnership, whereby Tunisia and France would be involved in the reconstruction of Libya.

A few days before Juppe's visit, the Tunisian president expressed hope of seeing a trans-Mediterranean unity between people and cultures, not only states. Marzouki also said he hoped that French politicians would not use the "Islamophobia card" in this year's presidential campaign.

"On this side of the Mediterranean, our peoples are waking up to the values of democracy, human rights and tolerance, and we will do everything possible to further strengthen the historical ties between France and Tunisia," he said.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    Fouad 2012-1-27

    Blah blah blah! Rule of law, human rights, democracy and so on – we know this rhetoric at the Mass by heart. On the ground, the reality is another story: the exact opposite story. It is contempt for our people’s human rights and scheming, domination, plunder, exploitation, pillage, massacres and so on. So blah blah blah! This does not work anymore! Chirac qualified Juppé as “the best of us” during his conflict with the law. He is now no less than foreign minister! There is one set of morals for the powerful and another for the others. They are not the same values – even if they think they are able to make the morals for the countries of the Third World!!! The order imposed on the world is outrageously immoral, and this is logical since it is in the image of its authors. “‘The friendship between France and Tunisia has become stronger than ever,’ he said, adding that his country will work to establish a ‘really equal partnership’ with Tunisia.” Partnership with France is in the image of North-South relations – domination and exploitation. We understand their haste to decree that it is a model for their neighbours to follow!!! These big shots want to lead the Third World as they please. Yesterday it was colonisation, today it is co-operation and globalisation.