Tunisia denies establishing foreign military bases on its soil

Tunisia denies establishing foreign military bases on its soil
Tunisia has had to deny claims that foreign bases were established in the country.
2 min read
12 June, 2020
Tunisia denies the existence of foreign bases [Getty]

Tunisia has denied the existence of foreign military bases on its soil, following reports that foreign forces have been deployed in the country.

The Tunisian defence minister on Thursday said the country stands against this form of foreign intervention.
Speaking to local Tunisian Mosaique Radio, Imed Hazgui, denied any foreign forces deployment in the country.

"Tunisia refuses to use its lands to conduct military operations or to establish foreign military units or bases," the defence minister said.

“Tunisia was and still controls its lands, maritime and airspace, and we do not allow any foreign force to be present in our country,” he added.

Speaking about neighbouring Libya, Hazgui rejected the need for foreign interference in the war.

"We, as a country, are ready to support all political initiatives that would lead to a political solution that would end the crisis in Libya," he said.

Earlier this month, AFRICOM commander US Army Gen. Stephen Town said the country is considering sending a unit of military trainers to Tunisia.

Tunisia insists Libya neutrality

President Kais Saied on Friday reaffirmed Tunisia's neutrality in neighbouring Libya's conflict during a telephone call with his French counterpart, the presidency said.

"Tunisia, which is committed to its sovereignty as well as the sovereignty of Libya, will never be a rear base for any party" to the conflict, Saied told President Emmanuel Macron, his office said.

Libya's UN-recognised government, heavily backed by Turkey, on Friday announced it had taken the town of Tarhuna from strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by the UAE, Egypt and Russia.

On Thursday, a stormy session of Tunisia's parliament saw the speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, accused of pursuing a parallel foreign policy that backed Turkey.

Libyan leaders in late May revealed a telephone conversation between Ghannouchi and the head of Libya's Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj, in which the former congratulated the latter on a recent military success.

Ghannouchi pledged at the end of the parliamentary session to review his positions so to avoid any duality over Tunisia's foreign policy, which is officially a presidential domain.

The French presidency said Saied and Macron also discussed policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

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