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Tunisia: normalisation with Israel 'not on agenda'

Tunisian protest against the the normalisation deal with in Tunis, on 18 August 2020 [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]
Tunisian protest against the the normalisation deals with Israel in Tunis, on 18 August 2020 [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]

Tunisia has no plans to follow Morocco's decision to normalise relations with Israel, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi told France 24 on Monday. "For Tunisia, the question is not on the agenda," he said.

The Israel-Morocco deal was the fourth that the United States has helped to broker since August. It follows similar agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

As part of the agreement, Trump agreed to recognise Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara, where a decades-old territorial dispute has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front. The Front seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.

"We respect Morocco's choice," said Mechichi. "Morocco is a sister country that we love very much, but for Tunisia the question is not on the agenda." He added that he has not been approached by the Trump administration about any such deals. "Every country has its own reality, its own truth and its own diplomacy, which it considers best for its people."

The Palestinians have been critical of the normalisation deals. They accuse these Arab countries of setting back the cause of peace by abandoning a longstanding demand that Israel should give up land for a Palestinian state before it can receive such recognition.

READ: Tunisian, Yemeni politicians slam Morocco, Israel deal

In August, Tunisia's President Kais Saied stressed his country's firm position on the rights of the Palestinians. Although he did not mention the controversial normalisation agreements, he linked his statements to his country's firm position on the Palestinian issue.

"We do not intervene in the choices of some countries and do not confront them, and we respect the will of states, as they are free in their choices and before their people," he explained. "However, we also have our positions that we express freely, far from issuing statements to denounce this or that position. The rights of Palestinians will not be lost as long as there are free people."

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