President Beji Caid Essebsi met, Friday, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who with Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) Co-Chair Stephen J. Hadley, is leading a delegation from the Atlantic Council on a visit to Tunisia to beginning a trip to several Middle East countries in Tunis.
According to a press release from the Presidency of the Republic “The meeting turned on the democratic experience in Tunisia and the requirements of economic and social transition”
Ahead of the trip a press release from the Atlantic Council, a Washington D.C. based think-tank, said Albright and Hadley were “in Tunis to discuss the country’s progress and the economic, security, and political challenges it still faces, as well as the wider regional context in which the country finds itself.”
Given the current climate, and Albright’s globally recognized status on foreign policy matters and as an unofficial representative of the U.S. administration, security and Libya featured prominently.
A press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after Khemais Jhinaoui’s meeting with Albright stated: “In addition, the meeting allowed for an exchange of views on international and regional issues of news including the Libyan crisis and its direct impact on Tunisia, to safely and economically.”
Similarly from the office of the Prime Minister Habib Essid: “We have been through, the exchange of views on the geopolitical situation of North Africa as well as the Arab region in general and ways to resist the spread of the phenomenon of terrorism that threatens to security and stability of the region.”
On the economic front, according to reports they were welcomed at the airport by the Houcine Abbassi, head of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT-l’Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail) and also met with Wided Bouchamaoui President of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA- l’Union Tunisienne de l’Industrie, du Commerce et de l’Artisanat) and fellow Nobel Prize recipient where they discussed ways to boost U.S. Tunisian bilateral commercial ties.
Secretary Albright met the President of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP) Mohamed Ennanceur who called for continued U.S. support, a position Secretary Albright has frequently advocated including in an op-ed she authored in, “This is Tunisia’s moment”, March 2015 when she last visited Tunisia.