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US official describes situation in Tunisia as ‘extremely complex’

June 1, 2023 at 11:31 am

The US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf is received at the house of Lebanon’s parliament in Beirut on March 24, 2023 [AFP via Getty Images]

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, has described the situation in Tunisia as “extremely complicated”, Anadolu news agency reported.

“The social space has begun to close in Tunisia, in light of the increasing pressure on activists, the media, and diplomatic missions,” Leaf said in remarks to the press, noting that Washington continues to provide assistance to Tunisia to maintain stability and protect American diplomatic missions there.

Leaf had just concluded a visit to Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon and Tunisia.

Remarking on her visit to Lebanon, Leaf stressed that the possibility of the state’s collapse “still exists”, pointing out that Washington is working with European countries to push the Lebanese parliament to carry out its duty in electing a president for the country.

Regarding the normalisation agreement signed between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Leaf said it came as a result of Riyadh’s desire to end the Yemen war, adding that China has no role in it.

“The agreement was hosted only by China,” she said, stressing that the agreement would not, in return, be a reason for the United States to move away from the Gulf region.

“The Saudi-Iranian agreement will not reduce our engagement with the Gulf states, including with Riyadh,” she added.

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