Home » Tunisia: the words of Saied and Meloni, beyond the agreements

Tunisia: the words of Saied and Meloni, beyond the agreements

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by: Celine Camoin | April 18, 2024

Noting the important momentum demonstrated by the coordination of exchanges of visits between Italy and Tunisia on various levels and various sectors, underlining the desire to continue to strengthen the year of consultation, coordination, documentation and diversification of cooperation ties and partnership between the two friendly countries, both bilateral and multilateral, at the service of the common interest of the Tunisian and Italian people, Tunisian President Kais Saied, however, was keen to underline, once again, “Tunisia’s firm position which refuses to be stung passage or destination of irregular migrants”.

He did so yesterday during the visit of the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, accompanied by the Minister of the Interior Matteo Piantedosi, the Minister of University and Research Anna Maria Bernini, and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edmondo Cirielli.

Kais Saied called for the adoption of a collective approach towards the issue of immigration and the fight against trafficking networks in human beings and human organs in the southern and northern Mediterranean, recalling, among other things, that Tunisia, “clinging to humanitarian values, it has made great efforts to take care of irregular immigrants, but it cannot, like any country founded on law, accept other legal conditions on its lands,” we read on the Presidency’s Facebook page.

Last year, some of Saied’s statements and provisions regarding migrants, and the existence of a conspiracy to change Tunisia, were deemed xenophobic and disrespectful, in addition to the fact that they triggered some episodes of violence.

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Yesterday, the President of the Republic underlined that irregular immigrants are victims of a global economic system, of which Tunisia is not the cause, and that these flows towards Tunisia clearly indicate the existence of organizations behind them.

Following bilateral talks, Saied and Meloni presided over the signing of three agreements: an agreement to support the general budget of the Tunisian state; a financial agreement between the Central Bank of Tunisia and the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Cdp) for the support and financing of small and medium-sized enterprises; a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and the Ministry of Italian Universities and Research, for cooperation in the sectors of higher education and scientific research.

Meloni declared that the three agreements concluded “demonstrate how collaboration with Tunisia is a priority in many aspects and constitutes an integral part of the work that Italy is carrying out, to build solid cooperation”.

“On the topic of migration management, I want to once again thank the Tunisian authorities and President Saied for the work we try to carry out together against human traffickers,” he added. “We know that Tunisia cannot become the country of arrival of migrants. Cooperation must be strengthened in this regard, we want to involve international organizations, work on repatriations but above all on regular flows.”
The Premier focused on the importance of regular flows: “On the legal migration front, I believe much more can be done by Italy, but it is essential that we work together to continue to fight the slavers of the third millennium,” she said. The Italian government has signed “some important agreements with Tunisia, which show how this bilateral relationship is clearly political but also made up of very concrete steps, bricks through which to build our ideas”.

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