Tunisia denies rift with Mahmoud Abbas

March 3, 2010
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Tunis

Tunisia on Wednesday denied media reports claiming that the North African country had a political rift with Palestine.

“Relations between Tunisia and Palestine are robust and privileged and are steadily improving,” a spokesman for the Tunisian foreign ministry said. “Tunisia fully supports the Palestinians in their struggle to regain their legitimate rights and the right to an independent state.”

Reports this week said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ relations with Libya, Algeria and Tunisia were at their lowest level, claiming that Tunisia was upset over the Palestinian decision to cut off financial assistance to a large number of Palestinians who have been living in Tunisia.

Thousands of Palestinians moved to Tunis as part of a deal worked out following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the siege of Beirut in the summer of 1982. While many returned to Palestine after the establishment of the political authority, several Palestinians, including Farouq Al Qaddoumi, the secretary-general of the Fatah central committee, remained in Tunisia.

The reports also claimed that Tunisia refused to give away the personal archives of Yasser Arafat, the former Palestinian leader who lived for several years in Tunisia before moving to Ramallah.

However, Tunisia insisted the reports as “untrue and lacking credibility.”

“Our two countries have been exchanging visits at various levels and have been holding close and regular consultations,” the spokesman said. “President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali views the Palestinian cause as his own and Tunisia reiterates its determination to reinforce the fraternal relations between the two countries.”

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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