French president visits Tunisia to boost cooperation
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (R, front) meets with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron (L, front) in Tunis, capital of Tunisia, on Jan. 31, 2018. (Xinhua/Adele Ezzine)
TUNIS, Feb. 1, 2018 (AltAfrika) -French President Emmanuel Macron arrived Tunisia Capital late Wednesday for a 24-hour state visit, his first to an Arab country since his election last May.
Heading a high-level delegation, Macron is visiting the North African country at the invitation of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, after Macron’s recent trips to other African countries including Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.
Among the entourage was an economic delegation consisting of some 20 French business leaders including heads of French companies renowned worldwide in such sectors as energy, services, agriculture and infrastructure.
“Other financial and cultural partnership agreements, and more specifically, in sectors related to youth are planned as part of the Tunisia-France forum which will be held Thursday in Tunis and will be closed by our host,” said Essebsi after a signing ceremony of some bilateral agreements.
Among them were agreements on debt conversions into development projects, as well as the financing of state enterprise reforms and a rehabilitation and social integration program in Tunisia.
During their meeting, Essebsi and Macron discussed the Libyan issue, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the extremist threats in the Middle East region.
Macron said the France-Tunisia relationship was a historical one now “at an important moment.”
Far from being confined to financial assistance to Tunisia, the French president said there was “a lot of common work between our two countries.” “In Tunisia reforms must be implemented to recover its position as an investment hub throughout the region,” he said.
Macron also said France had done a lot to boost European confidence in Tunisia’s potentials.