Greece is backing Tunisia’s efforts to maintain the North African country’s stability from the influence of extremists, Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday.
“I came here to support the efforts undertaken in the context of democratic transition by the president.
“We cannot allow Tunisia to slide back. That is what the president said and I subscribe to that wholeheartedly,” Dendias said following his meeting with Tunisian President Kais Saied.
“We cannot allow losing what has already been gained and there is a need for a Tunisian solution for the Tunisian people. Many important efforts have been undertaken in this regard. We are convinced that the path of reforms should continue. We hope that there will be a quick return to the normal functioning of the institutions, in compliance with the will of the Tunisian people,” Dendias continued.
With this statement, Athens is backing the Tunisian president’s decision in July to suspend the Parliament, where the Renaissance Movement, inspired by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, is prominent and, although far from having a majority, has elected its leader as the Parliament speaker; Saied also dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi.
Dendias also delivered 100,000 Covid vaccination doses. He said the delivery is “a message of solidarity to the Tunisian people, reaffirming our country’s commitment to actively contribute to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“It is an effort that concerns all of humanity, not individual nations. The Covid pandemic has no borders,” he added during his meeting with Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi and interim Health Minister Ali Mrabet.
Dendias also thanked Tunisia for supporting Greece’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations’ Security Council in 2025-26.
The Greek foreign minister announced that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will visit Tunisia in November on the occasion of the Summit of the Francophonie, of which Greece is one of the 88 member-states.
Athens’ interest in Tunisia’s internal stability is not a mere declaration of friendship, but stems from the fact that it neighbors a very unstable Libya.
In a clear dig at Turkey, Dendias said after meeting with President Saied that, “contrary to other countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, we do not have a hidden agenda in our relations with Tunisia. Our sole interest is your stability and your prosperity.”
Dendias will talk about developments in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean on Wednesday in Bucharest, where the Parliamentary Committees of Foreign Affairs and Defense of southern EU members will meet.
Dendias will also have meetings with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis and Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, as well as Romanian and Greek businesspeople. He will then travel to Moldova to meet President Maia Sandu, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita and Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu.