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Interim Prime Minister confers with France's FM

Published the:  20/04/2011

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April 20, 2011 - TAP - France will support Tunisia by providing it with 350 million Euros for the 2011-12 period, notably through the French Development Agency, for projects that meet Tunisia's priorities, particularly in the fields of training, fight against unemployment, urban renewal and governance, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé announced, following the talk he had, on Wednesday in Tunis, with Interim Prime Minister Béji Caid Essebsi.
France's FM, who is on working visit in Tunisia which he described as "friendship and solidarity journey," highlighted, after his meeting with Mr. Caid Essebsi, "the deep and longstanding relations" binding Tunisia and France "at all levels".
On the January 14 Revolution, the French Minister commended the "great movement" that started in Tunisia and has now reached the whole Arab world, inspiring so much admiration and respect among the French people.
The movement, he went on saying, occurred with such a great sense of responsibility and high degree of political maturity. He said that "France wholeheartedly wishes success to this movement which is an expression of the very ideas which we cherish for quite a long time, namely peoples and the citizens' freedom; and also free speech, democracy and Human Rights".
Besides, the talk turned on the issue of immigration "a question", the French Minister said, "which is highly sensitive, from both sides of the Mediterranean. It ought to be dealt with in an unemotional way, while trying to exchange views and understanding one another's positions, to reach the targets set for the short and long ranges, especially in order to bridge the development divides and inequalities separating North and South".
In this connection, Mr. Juppé said that France is not a closed country. It neither is a citadel nor a fortress, he said, underlining that his country annually receives 200,000 foreigners and hosts a 500,000-member Tunisian community, including 13,000 students.
The French FM also said that he came with an invitation from French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Tunisia to attend the Deauville G8 meeting, late in May.