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Tunisia rejects NATO’s proposal to support establishment of anti-terrorism centre 

February 13, 2018 at 12:51 am

Tunisia’s Defence Minister. Abdelkrim Zbidi (L) [Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo /Wikipedia]

On Monday, the Tunisian defence ministry said it had rejected a NATO proposal that would grant Tunisia a 3 million euro grant in exchange for closer ties with the organisation. The plan would have engaged a permanent role for NATO experts at an operations centre in the country.

Defence Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi said his ministry, “rejected a proposal by NATO to give his country a grant of 3 million euros to receive permanent experts who would provide technical advice to the Tunisian military at an operations centre in which the armies cooperate to secure borders and fight terrorism which Tunisia plans to develop.”

During a hearing at the Tunisian parliament’s security and defence committee, on Monday, Zbidi explained that “The ministry is working on a project to complete a joint centre for planning, leading operations, for information analysis and to lead joint operations between the military forces.”

Read: Tunisia extends state of emergency amid ‘terror threats’

He added that his ministry “requested the provision of a grant to Tunisia, provided that no party from outside the Tunisian military establishment would intervene in this centre, and that the location where the centre is to be established be inside Tunisian territories and chosen by the Ministry of Defence.”

Zbidi also pointed out that the terrorist threat still persists in his country especially on the western borders with Algeria and eastern borders with Libya.

He added: “Some terrorist combatants are still active in the western highlands of the governorates of Kasserine, El Kef and Jendouba.”

According Zbidi, the Tunisian military units carried out about one thousand military operations in suspicious areas in different governorates of the country, which led to the elimination of 5 terrorist combatants, uncovering 28 hideouts, the destruction and neutralisation of more than 100 mines, the seizure of equipment and various possessions, the killing of two military agents together with 45 others injured at different degrees.