WASHINGTON: Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi said on Monday that his country is determined to continue on the path to “genuine democracy” and live up to the expectations of its people.
Speaking at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Jerandi said that President Kais Saied’s recent suspension of the parliament, dismissal of the prime minister and shutdown of political processes in Tunisia were intended “to put the country back on the right path toward democracy.”
Explaining the political crisis in the country, Jerandi said that Saied had been forced to take the measures because of political infighting between rival parties and economic turmoil that had plagued Tunisia for years.
He described the situation in Tunisia before Saied stepped in as “dangerous” and a “threat” to the country’s future.
Jerandi highlighted what he described as “deeply rooted political polarization, and a socioeconomic and health crisis,” saying that Saied had taken a “series of exceptional resolutions and measures based on the constitution.”
However, the government’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law remains, the foreign minister said.
“Democracy in Tunisia is an irreversible option,” he added.
Saied ordered the dissolution of the government last July, triggering both supporters and opponents of his measures to take to the streets.
Supporters of Ennahda, the Islamist party that holds a parliamentary majority, condemned the president’s intervention as a “coup,” while Saied’s supporters called it a necessary step to end the country’s political impasse.
Jerandi said that rooting out corruption that has strangled Tunisia in the past is a prerequisite to building a democratic system.
He urged the UN to develop a stronger and more effective multilateral system for international diplomacy and cooperation for the betterment of the younger generation and the youth.
The foreign minister said that his country will always be a positive force for peace and security in the international community.
Tunisia will play an “influential role” in helping neighboring Libya to restore its security and stability, he added.
Speaking about instability in the Arab world, and the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, Jerandi said that the international community must use its weight and influence to push for compromise and bring an end to the civil wars in both countries.
He also said international cooperation is needed to combat terrorism and extremism as well as illegal migration.