Tunisia says it plans to reestablish ties with Syria, asks Turkey to stop cross-border flow of terrorists

Tunis, SANA – Tunisia invited the Syrian Ambassador back to Tunis and said it plans to reopen a consulate in Damascus.

“We will not have an ambassador there, but Tunisia will open a consulate or put in place a charge d’affaires, and a Syria ambassador is welcome to Tunisia, if Syria wishes so,” Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche told reporters on Thursday.

On March 6, Baccouche told the Lebanese as-Safir newspaper that the new Tunisian government was planning to review its predecessor’s “wrong” foreign policy.

Renewing diplomatic ties with Syria would be a priority for this government, Baccouche said in an interview with as-Safir, noting that such a step would be in the interest of the Tunisian people, and particularly the Tunisian community in Syria.

On a relevant note, Tunisia’s Foreign Minister called on Turkey to stop allowing terrorists into Syria and Iraq across its borders.

“We have asked our ambassador in Turkey to draw the attention of the Turkish authorities to the fact that we do not want a Muslim nation such as Turkey to help directly or indirectly terrorism in Tunisia by facilitating the movements of terrorists,” Baccouche told a press conference on Thursday.

Turkey has been a passage point for gunmen who go to Syria or for those who travel to Libya and then infiltrate across the border into Tunisia.

After an estimated 30,000 Tunisian nationals headed from Tunisia to fight alongside terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, those have returned to the country where they are considered a security threat.

Baccouche dismissed that those Tunisian gunmen could have anything to do with “Jihad” in its true Islamic sense. “They are misled youth” who infiltrated Iraq and Syria across the Turkish borders, he said.

Haifa Said

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