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Tunis denies allowing US to build military base in the south

February 7, 2014 at 12:09 am

The adviser of the Tunisian government, Nouriddin Al-Bohairi, denied early on Thursday information about the government’s intention to give the US permission to build a military base in the far south of the country on the borders with Libya and Algeria.

In a statement broadcast on state TV, Al-Bohairi, who is a prominent leader in the Al-Nahda movement, said: “The information about a project of an American military base in Ramada in the south of Tunisia is not more than rumours.”

The advisor added that, “such rumours aim at destabilising the Tunisian state.”

Previously, media reports indicated that Tunis might have agreed to give the US permission to build a military base. The reports were based on warnings made by Ayoub al-Masoudi, the former information advisor of the interim Tunisian president Munsif Al-Marzouqi.

Al-Masoudi had noted that a “US plan could be built in the south of the country under the pretext of the war of terrorism.”

Prior to Al-Masoudi’s warning, Tunisian Defence Minister Rashid Al-Sabbagh had announced a buffer zone along the Tunisian borders with Libya and Algeria. “The decision of the buffer zone was taken exceptionally by the interim president, but it was suspended,” he said. The decision came two days after the government labelled the Salafist group Ansar Al-Sharia a terrorist organisation, causing mass controversy.