Rachid Ammar: "Opening Tunisia Air Space Is Not In Our Favor, Coordination With Algeria Is A Priority"

date 2016/11/27 views 616 comments 0

icon-writer Abdessalam Sakia/English version: Dalila Henache

Tunisian President's admitted that he allowed American drones to exploit the Tunisian air space for special missions in Libya, justifying this with cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the protection of his country's borders from terrorist infiltration, and the bombing of ISIS strongholds.

These statements raised a large controversy in Tunisia, as political parties called for a move by the Defense and Foreign Ministries, fearing that these decisions will disturb the relationship with Algeria.

Member of the defense committee in the Tunisian parliament, Imad Dami, told Echorouk: "We were surprised of this statement, which came in the words of President Essebsi about the foreign military presence in our country, considering that there are internal laws which regulate the relations with various partners in the military side, and any foreign presence in missions without prior agreements is illegal, because it need agreements that are certified by the MPs".

"Government did not present the agreement that it signed with the US administration last year to the parliament, this is why we consider that the activities that emerged from the agreement are illegal. Priority in the fight against terrorism is the military and security cooperation with Algeria".

"What happened was not a betrayal, but the relationship with Algeria was and will remain outstanding, and we consider combating terrorism a joint affair, and coordination with the regional and international powers should be discussed between the two brotherly countries, because we share the charters of African and Maghreb defense".

Former Commander of the three pillars of armies in Tunisia, Gen. Rachid Ammar, stated that what happened is related to the existence of American trainers for the Tunisian armed troops only. President Essebsi statements did not refer at all to opening airspace to foreign jets, and we have no interest in doing this, we have not done it before, and we will not do it today or in the future".

He presented his testimony about aspects of security and military cooperation between the two countries in the period of his leadership of the Tunisian army: "Tunisian-Algerian cooperation is very strong, and we worked on this during my service time. Cooperation between the two countries is a top priority for both sides. I always repeat that our security is one, and I think we are moving on the same approach."

Tunisian president's adviser, Firas Kafrache, told Echorouk briefly: "A possible impact on relations with Algeria may occur. The case took more than its size in the media".

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