Former Tunisia PM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Country Fortified against Libyan Tumult

Tunis – Kamal bin Younes

Former Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh stressed that his country is fortified militarily from the security unrest in neighboring Libya.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, he urged Tunisian politicians to refrain from becoming involved in internal Libyan disputes.

He hailed Tunisian authorities’ tightening of security along the 450-kilometer border with Libya in wake of the recent escalation in fighting in the neighboring country.

Moreover, he said Tunis and Algiers were “completely” coordinating their stances on Libya, saying they support a political settlement there.

“There can be no solution without inter-Libyan agreement,” Larayedh said.

He added that the Tunisian and Libyan authorities and people enjoy the “closest relations in the Arab world.” He cited how over 2 million Libyans visit Tunisia annually for tourism or in search of safety when unrest escalates back home.

On local Tunisian affairs, Larayedh praised current Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh’s performance in the short time since his appointment in February. He urged him to take advantage of the “environment of national unity” brought about by the novel coronavirus outbreak to bridge divides between different political forces.

He positively assessed Fakhfakh’s performance, adding that he could achieve even more if he succeeded in putting an end to the duality of the parliamentary majority that opposes cabinet and the government majority that is riddled with disputes.

The premier can take advantage of various crises to reap more popular and parliamentary support, he suggested.

Despite this, Larayedh expressed “serious” concerns over the democratic transition in Tunisia as authorities may prioritize “security affairs and political decisiveness” over public freedoms, which may ultimately return the country back to “oppressive” times.

He therefore suggested that the government ease the coronavirus lockdown to help boost the economy and help the people cope with the crisis.

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