On Tuesday, Tunisian President Kais Saied called on US authorities to listen to their Tunisian counterparts “to find out the real situation in Tunisia”.
This came during a meeting between Saied and the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, at Carthage Palace, according to a statement by the Tunisian presidency.
“The meeting discussed the development of the bilateral relations between Tunisia and the United States of America,” the statement said.
The statement continued: “The meeting was an opportunity in which Saied explained many issues related to the course that Tunisia is experiencing, and during which he refuted many allegations promoted by known parties (he did not name).”
The statement confirmed that “Saied called on the American authorities to listen to their Tunisian counterparts to find out the reality of the situation.”
According to the statement, Saied reaffirmed “Tunisia’s commitment to its sovereignty and the rejection to interfere in its internal affairs,” expressing “his resentment with the statements made by several American officials in the recent period.”
According to the same statement, the meeting also discussed the economic and social conditions in Tunisia and the role that the international community can play to help overcome the difficulties the country is witnessing.
On 21 August, Saied said, during his meeting with a delegation from the US Congress at Carthage Palace, that “the statements by some of the US officials about Tunisia are unacceptable,” stressing that his country is a free, independent and sovereign state.
On 29 July, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry announced, in a statement, that it had summoned the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy to denounce the “interference” and the “unacceptable” statements made by US officials who criticised the referendum on the Constitution.Last 28 July, the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, issued a statement in which he considered that “the new Constitution undermines Tunisia’s democracy”.
The US State Department’s statement coincided with a speech delivered by the new US ambassador to Tunisia, Joey Hood, before Congress, in which he affirmed that he would use “all tools of American influence to call for a return to the democratic rule”.
Since 25 July, 2021, Tunisia has witnessed a severe political crisis when Saied imposed exceptional measures including dismissing the government and appointing a new one, dissolving the Supreme Judicial Council and the Parliament, issuing legislation through presidential decrees, adopting a new Constitution for the country through a referendum on 25 July, and setting an early date of the parliamentary elections.
Tunisian forces consider these measures as a “coup against the 2014 Constitution and a consolidation of an absolute individual rule”, while other forces see them as a “correction of the course of the 2011 revolution”, which toppled the former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (1987-2011).