16 August 2012

Tunisia: U.S. Ambassador - 'United States Does Not Plan to Create Military Base in Tunisia'

Tunis — "The United States has no military base in Tunisia and has no plans in this sense," asserted Thursday new U.S. ambassador to Tunisia Jacob Walles.

During the first meeting with the Tunisian media since his accreditation last July 24, the American ambassador underlined his country's readiness to help Tunisia protect its borders "which face terrorism," citing the support to training and logistics in the military and security institutions.

On the economic level, the American diplomat called on Tunisia to diversify its economic partners, asserting that his country will establish a fund for financing the small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to encourage investment and job creation.

He evoked the American assistance worth 100 million dollars granted with the aim of supporting the Tunisian government in the resolution of urgent issues, specifying that the American assistance turns on two niches : the short and long term.

"It is a short-term support to tackle the issue of unemployment and the urgent questions and long-term to boost investment and energise competitiveness of the Tunisian economy," highlighted the American ambassador. "The United State will also strive to help Tunisia obtain credits of the financial market, promote the sustainable development programme and improve the skills of the Tunisian youths by means of granting subsidies for the training of youths and executives," he underlined.

On the political level, the ambassador reasserted his country's readiness to support Tunisia to guarantee the success of the democratic transition process, specifying that the United States does not support any party and that the holding of elections in Tunisia depends on the Tunisian people's will.

The steps made so far on the path of democratic transition are relatively good, he added, which explains the support lent by the United States to the Tunisian experience so that it be a model in the region.

Answering questions concerning the fate of the 5 Tunisian detainees in Guantanamo, the American diplomat underscored that consultations continue to find a solution to this file, given the complexity of the American judiciary system.

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