Congressional deputies promise to rescind Trump's decision to cut military aid to Tunisia.
Adel Tayari-TDO-Tunisian Prime Minister Yousuf Al-shahed visited Washington from July 10 to 12. The visit was mainly of a political nature, during which the prime minister met senior officials of the new US administration.
The Prime Minister met on the first day of his visit to Washington, US Vice President Michael Richard Penece, who reiterated the support of the United States of America to Tunisia saying that the Tunisian state is working to strengthen its security capabilities and to put in place the necessary economic reforms and the development of its democratic institutions. A statement issued by the White House Information Office said that Penece appreciated recent efforts by Prime Minister Yusuf al-Shahed in order to combat corruption and encouraged him to continue to carry out sustainable reforms that will contribute to bringing in investments that will enable the creation of jobs for Tunisians. Yousuf Shahed also met in the US Congress a number of members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress. In a statement on these meetings, the Prime Minister said, "The deputies In Congress expressed their response to the arguments presented to them about Tunisia's pursuit of economic and political reforms and the fight against terrorism revealing a convergence of views between the new US administration and the Tunisian state.
Yousuf Shahed confirmed that the officials and members of the US Congress expressed their conviction that Tunisia should be supported as a strategic ally in the fight against terrorism.
Military And Security Cooperation
Prime Minister Yousuf al-Shahid, at the Pentagon, had a meeting with US Defense Secretary James Matisse, which reaffirmed the readiness of the United States of America to further strengthen security and military cooperation with Tunisia, and to continue to support the course of its democratic transition. The US minister welcomed Tunisia's unconditional commitment to participate in the war against terrorism and its participation in the war against the organization of the "Dahesh" terrorist. Matisse estimated the Tunisian government's efforts to combat corruption, especially smuggling, which is one of the main sources of funding for terrorist organizations.
The Tunisian Prime Minister also met Tuesday, July 11, at the White House, US National Security Advisor General Herbert Raymond McMaster, the meeting was an occasion to discuss the Tunisian strategy in combating terrorism and extremism.
Yusuf al-Shahid 's visit to Washington comes as US President Donald Trump's administration decided to cut military and economic aid to Tunisia in the 2018 budget. The Trump administration proposes to grant Tunis, in the draft budget of 2018, only 54.6 million dollars in aid, a reduction of 85.8 million dollars compared to 2017. In a press statement on the sidelines of his visit to Washington, the Tunisian Prime Minister considered that the reduction of US military and economic aid to Tunisia will send a negative message to the terrorist organizations regarding the capabilities and readiness of the Tunisian security and military forces. In connection with the issue, John McCain, Republican Senator, confirmed that the draft Finance Law of 2018, which includes a significant reduction of military and economic aid to Tunisia, will not be passed in the US Congress. Members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee also stressed the need for further support from the Tunisian government to support and strengthen the transitional process in Tunisia. Members of the committee urged Prime Minister Yusuf al-Shahed to accelerate economic reform and anti-corruption measures. The members of the Committee also stressed the need for the Tunisian authorities to make every effort to prevent the conversion of Tunisian jihadists to Syria and Iraq, calling on neighboring countries of Tunisia to cooperate with the government of Youssef Al-Shahed in order to address the terrorist threats, secure borders and support democratic transition in Tunisia.
The Tunisian prime minister had a conversation with US Treasury Secretary Stephen Menchen on Monday, July 10, which the ministry described as a "fruitful" conversation. and on his meeting with Assistant Director-General of the International Monetary Fund David Lipton on Tuesday, July 11 Prime Minister Yousuf Al-Shahid announced in a joint statement with Lipton that there was an understanding on the continuation of the agreement signed in Tunis on 12 June 2017, In particular the second installment of the loan granted to Tunisia amounting to 314.4 million dollars , Youssef al-Shahed stressed the fact that Tunisia is keen to respect all its commitments, despite the problems it faces.
On the other hand, the Prime Minister met with the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in the presence of a number of Tunisian and American businessmen. and he stressed during the meeting that "the investment climate in Tunisia has improved in recent months and is expected to reach the growth rate to 2.5 percent by the end of 2017."