Following a first meeting at the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Maas met his Tunisian counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui in Berlin on 17 October. Tunisia is a close partner in the Maghreb. The German-Tunisian intergovernmental consultations took place just a few weeks ago in September. Since the revolution which brought about the end of the dictatorship in 2011, Germany has been providing Tunisia with extensive support within the framework of the transformation partnership.
Despite lying in an unsettled region, Tunisia has been very successful in managing the transition from dictatorship to democracy based on the rule of law. Exciting times lie ahead for the young democracy: parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for 2019. Yet despite the considerable progress made, further reforms are necessary in the spheres of the rule of law and the fight against corruption, among others.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas explained why developments in Tunisia are so important to Germany:
During the Arab Spring, Tunisia’s civil society was a symbol of commitment to democracy and fundamental rights. The democratic transformation in Tunisia had an impact on the region and beyond. It is this civil society engagement which we want to support. Much headway has been made and we are hoping for further progress.
With regard to Tunisia’s neighbour Libya, Tunisia and Germany agree that the entire international community must support the efforts of Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).