President Saïed meets with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
22/10/2020 23:01, TUNIS/Tunisia
(TAP) - President of the Republic Kaïs Saïed met Thursday with Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian who is on a working visit in Tunisia.

They laid emphasis on the strong ties binding the two countries and underlined the need to scale up  multidimensional cooperation , notably in connection to the fight against terrorism and extremism. 

Saïed firmly decried last Friday's "dreadful" terrorist attack on a teacher in a Paris suburb and said "Tunisia was not spared, either." He urged the adoption of an approach that addresses the root causes of terrorism. 

The state of play in Libya also took centre stage. The Tunisian diplomacy  managed to host the first face-to-face meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) early next November,  the President said. "Libyans need to find solutions that reflect the will of the people," he added.

"Now is not the time for other countries to intervene, if the need arises, as this would only help make the situation worse, " he said. Tunisia is utterly opposed to "Libya's division."

France, as much as Tunisia, thinks there is no room for a military solution,  Le Drian said following the talk. Only an inclusive dialogue may bring about an acceptable and lasting solution far away from any foreign interference.

Nighbouring countries have a key role to play as they are the first to face the risks relating to the crisis, the French minister further said. "They can play a stabilising role with Libyan stakeholders, they have a real interest in the country's stabilisation. "

Le Drian said his country urges Libya's neighbours to endorse a political settlement of this crisis and hailed President Kaïs Saïed's decision to host the first face-to-face LPDF meeting slated for November under the aegis of the United Nations.

The Head of State welcomed the support provided by France and the signing of two agreements as part of the follow up of the  recommendations of last June friendship and working visit to Paris, said a Presidency press release.

The medical city in Kairouan and high-speed train projects which the President discussed with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron also came under spotlight during the meeting.

The talk focused, in another connection, on preparations for the 18th edition of the francophonie summit set for 2021 in Djerba.

Tunisia, Jean-Yves Le Drian  said, will take delivery in the coming days of medical aid  worth 500, 000 euros as part of bilateral cooperation and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

France, he further said, is ready to fund the construction of hospital in Gafsa.

The visiting minister also said two agreements were inked with his opposite number Othman Jerandi. The first provides for granting 100 million euros as part of the support of government policies on economic reforms. This is the first tranche of a 350 million-euro-loan financed by the French Development Agency.

The second, worth 38 million euros, pertains to the water treatment plant, of Béjaoua that will help secure water supply in the Greater Tunis, Le Drian said.

The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs welcomed, in another vein, the successful cooperation between the two countries at the UN Security Council which resulted in the adoption of Resolution n°2532 on a global ceasefire to help unite efforts to fight COVID-19 in the most vulnerable countries.

To this end, he urged continous coordination on regional and international issues of common interest, particularly when Tunisia takes over the council's chairmanship  in January 2021.

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