Who will save Tunisian diplomacy?

Since January 14, 2011, Tunisia has counted on support and unconditional support from neighboring and friendly countries. The Republic has always aimed at the diplomatic level to choose a policy of neutrality towards the two blocs East and West, in conflict since the end of the Second World War. Tunisia was even one of the leaders of the non-aligned movement. This policy has given him solid diplomatic relations with countries in conflict such as Algeria and Morocco or even Russia and the United States. Tunisia has benefited from the unconditional support of its partners during the most difficult moments in the country’s history.

Unfortunately, Tunisian diplomatic relations have been significantly weakened over the past year by the political situation in the country and the process initiated by the President of the Republic, Kaïs. Saidsince 25 July 2021. Tunisia has collected American and European press releases warning of the worsening of the country’s situation and the need to initiate an inclusive process based on dialogue. The Senate has multiplied visits and delegations with the aim of following the development of the situation closely and seeking to open a dialogue with the executive. In one year, no less than five press releases criticizing the President’s decisions have been published by the State Department. The same applies to the EU, which had expressed its concern over Kaï’s actions Said and went so far as to emphasize the low turnout in the 25 July 2022 referendum.

Faced with this criticism, Tunisian diplomacy chose a policy of silence. An unprecedented silence had fallen upon our officials and our Foreign Office. During the speeches of the head of state, we were only entitled to a few slogans that emphasized the importance of the sovereignty of Tunisia and the people and the independence of the country. The Presidency did not find it appropriate to present a clear account of the situation or to give instructions as the authority in charge of foreign relations and diplomatic affairs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Othman. Jerandi to deploy the necessary resources and make an effort to provide the necessary clarifications regarding the process that has been initiated since 25 July 2021.

On top of that, several embassies are currently empty. We can mention as an example the failure to appoint a successor Moez Sinaouiformer Tunisian ambassador to Italy. There is a real problem with the appointment of ambassadors for several European countries. Since September, the temporary mission has been secured while Tunisia begs from the most powerful nations on the old continent and seeks support for the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. Ditto for Tunisia’s embassy in Iran, as Tunisia’s diplomatic failures do not stop at the level of Tunisian-European relations. Since the end of Samir’s diplomatic mission Mansaa few weeks ago, Tunisia decided not to immediately appoint a head of our diplomatic mission in a country have which is benefiting from the current energy crisis resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

The Presidency of the Republic has shown its inability to preserve and consolidate its relations with friendly and neighboring countries, whether in the framework of bilateral relations or in organizations to which Tunisia belongs. Quay Said faced a ruling by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights calling on it to restore constitutional democracy within two years. The Court orders the Respondent State to revoke Presidential Decrees No. 117 of September 22, 2021 and Decrees Nos. 69, 80, 109 of July 26, 29, and August 24, 2021 and Decrees No. 11 October 2021 and restore constitutional democracy within two years as a measure of restitution. For his part, Kais Said persisted in his silence. He still hasn’t issued a response to this or explained what he intends to do about it. It seemed that there had never been an African court or decision! The President of the Republic, who belongs to of laying out the country’s policy for diplomatic relations, does he believe that ignoring its problems will eventually make them disappear?

Moreover, Tunisia no longer seems to be attached to its historical and cultural heritage or to continue to work for its protection and inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Our country is no longer able to express itself and present its opinion to this organization as we no longer have an official ambassador there. Ghazi Ghrairiwho excelled in his task, returned to Tunis after the end of his diplomatic mission in September, and no successor has been appointed. This is a fact that can significantly damage Tunisian diplomacy and its image since Ghazi Ghrairi was also responsible for the coordination with the group of countries belonging to the World Organization La Francophonie. However, Tunisia intends to organize the next Francophonie summit on November 19 and 20, 2022, so next month! Quay Said therefore try to organize a summit without coordination with the participants?

The situation for Tunisian diplomacy is chaotic. A real failure on Kai’s part Said can be observed at this level because of the inability of the President to manage such a file. He had attempted to attempt a rapprochement with Algeria and to attract the support and affection of the powers that be.

To achieve this goal, the head of state went so far as to jeopardize Tunisia’s relations with Morocco by officially inviting, as an individual, the representative of the front. Polisario on the occasion of Ticad 8 arranged in collaboration with Japan. However, this country had criticized the Tunisian position.

Subsequently, and a few weeks later, while Kaïs Said had invested in supporting Algeria in connection with the conflict against Morocco, we were surprised to discover a real turnaround in the situation. Algeria has decided to reconcile with its Moroccan neighbor. Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita received the Algerian Minister of Justice, Abderrachid Tebbi. Tunisian diplomacy, for its part, received a real blow in the face!

Sophie Ghoubantini

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