• Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi to meet Barack Obama on a state visit to the USA
  • The US has committed to strengthening security ties with Tunisia

Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi is to meet US President Barack Obama during his state visit to Washington on 20-21 May 2015.

He has already met Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry and the Tunisian ministerial adviser Mohsen Marzouk signed a long-term memorandum of understanding (MoU) that reinforces cooperation between the two countries, especially on security matters.

The document affirms the US’ commitment to reinforcing Tunisia’s security capabilities. The US will support Tunisia’s anti-terrorism efforts by financing security equipment and providing training programmes, according to the Tunisian Press Agency.

Tunisia and the US will also strengthen economic and trade ties.

The US had previously committed to doubling military aid to Tunisia, to about $60m a year. A delivery of military vehicles was made earlier in May.

Counter-terrorism has been top of the agenda in Tunisia since the attack on the Bardo Museum on 18 March, which killed more than 20 foreign tourists and a Tunisian.

Tunisia is struggling to secure its border with Libya and prevent violence there from spilling over. It has also been fighting extremists in Jebel Chaambi, near the Algerian border, since 2013.

However, human rights groups have strongly criticised a proposed security law, which would criminalise criticism of the armed forces and revealing state secrets, as dangerously broad.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices