Italy and Tunisia expressed their satisfaction for the signing of the joint declaration drafted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, and the Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui. The agreement will further strengthen the cooperation between the two countries to promote peace, stability and well-being in the Mediterranean area.
Together with the joint declaration, the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed other agreements in various sectors including development partnerships, electrical power interconnections, youth exchanges, and enhancement of cooperation in the field of security.
Among the objectives worthy of mention and to prioritise in these agreements, which were negotiated months ago as well as during Minister Alfano’s visit to Tunis on 19 January, are the support the Italian government will provide to the 2017-2020 Development Plan (165.5 million, to add on to the 200 million already deliberated and in the process of being allocated). These include a series of initiatives favouring the private sector with 30 million euros; public education actions accounting for 32.5 million euros; enhancement of energy capabilities accounting for 5 million euros; and the financial inclusion and support to credit operations to be subsidised with 5 million euros. The interventions of the Italian Development Cooperation seek to eradicate the profound causes of irregular migration and also establish new forms of cooperation with the relevant authorities of both countries for the management of immigration and the relevant social, economic and legal aspects.
The two ministers underlined their common interest in establishing the concerted management of the migration phenomenon by means of effective cooperation measures, in order to enhance Tunisia’s capabilities to control borders (especially maritime ones) and fight against the networks trafficking in human beings.
Within this framework, Minister Alfano confirmed Italy’s support to modernisation and maintenance projects for the patrol vessels Italy supplied to the Tunisian National Guard (valued at approximately 12 million euros), the completion of the AFIS digital register, the cooperation in training and the supply of equipment for the control of maritime borders, as well as the support for any further needs expressed by Tunisia in these sectors.
“President Essebsi’s visit to Rome was particularly important for the ongoing process of consolidating the partnership between Italy and Tunisia. It confirms that Tunisia is a priority country and a strategic partner,” said Minister Alfano today on the margins of the signing ceremony. Mr Alfano underlined that “Tunisia plays a key role in the stability of the entire Mediterranean region on topical issues such as fighting against terrorism, the illegal trafficking of human beings and the issue of Libya. The visit by the President of the Republic of Tunisia caps a successful sequence of visits and meetings at every level that have been held in recent months, ” added Minister Alfano. He reiterated his confidence that “the signing of the Joint Declaration and other agreements are a further step forward in the bilateral cooperation between our countries.”