The leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party, Ennahda, has said that he wants to discuss issues “in the interests of Tunisia, Algeria and the region in general”. Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi made his statement during an official visit to Algeria in his capacity as head of the party which won the most seats in the recent election in Tunisia. “My visit comes at a time of important change in my country,” said Sheikh Ghannouchi in a press release.
Praising Tunisian-Algerian relations, Ghannouchi said: “We are honoured to be able to make this visit, when we are on the verge of the first session of the National Constituent Assembly; the first fruits of our revolution in January.”
The local media said that Sheikh Ghannouchi has a full agenda of meetings in Algeria. He was met at the airport on Saturday by the President of the National Assembly, Abdul Qader Bin Saleh, and is expected to meet with the Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika and the Secretary General of the National Liberation Front, Abdelaziz Belkhadem, as well as the head of Algeria’s Peace Community movement, Abu Jar Soltani.
Although such meetings lend the visit a very official air, and discussions will include the future of relations between Algeria and Tunisia, the media claims not to know which body made the formal invitation to Sheikh Ghannouchi. He was accompanied by two colleagues from Ennahda, one of whom is a candidate for the position of Minister of Justice; the other is a potential Minister of International Relations.