Francophonie summit in Tunisia again delayed until 2022 due to Covid-19, political unrest
The 18th meeting of the 88 "states and governments" making up the body had been set to go ahead on Tunisia's Djerba island this November.
But the summit will now be postponed by a year, following a consensus reached at a meeting of the Francophonie's permanent council on Tuesday, said Slim Khalbous, the country's ex-higher education minister and a member of the council.
The postponement comes as Tunisia is gripped by a months-long constitutional crisis sparked by President Kais Saied's decision to suspend the nation's parliament and dismiss its then-premier, Hichem Mechichi, in July. In September, Saied then said he would ignore most of the nation's constitution and begin ruling by decree.
The matter was considered "openly and for the sake of cohesion and solidarity", a statement from the International Organisation of the Francophonie read.
The Francophonie and Tunis' foreign ministry said in separate statements that the date had been pushed back "in order to allow Tunisia to be able to organise these important proceedings in the most optimal conditions".
The organisation is required to give its full go-ahead to the deferral for it to become effective.
However, the early stages of approval came on Wednesday, with the agreement of the body's permanent council, the Canadian Le Devoir newspaper reported.
Issues associated with coronavirus were also a cause for the latest deferral, Le Devoir said it had learned.
However, Moncef Marzouki, the ex-Tunisian president, claimed to France 24 on Tuesday he was "proud" to have had a hand in bringing about the delay.
"It is increasingly clear that the post-revolutionary democratic process in Tunisia is going through a strong setback" https://t.co/wSdHdoUJXz— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) October 12, 2021
This is the second time the summit has been postponed. It was first supposed to occur last year in Tunis, but was pushed back due to the Covid pandemic.
Countries participating in some way in the Francophonie include Middle Eastern and North African nations Tunisia, Morocco, Qatar and Lebanon, as well as France, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Estonia and many others around the world.