Saudi Arabia pledges to support Tunisia, says

Saudi Arabia pledged Sunday to provide aid to Tunisia, which is suffering from a political, economic and health crisis, the Tunisian presidency announced, the latest sign of support for President Kais Saied against his Islamist opponents.

Saudi Minister of State for African Affairs Ahmed Abdul Aziz Kattan met Saied in Tunis and senior officials then met to discuss cooperation, the presidency said in a statement.

Saied last month sacked his prime minister, froze parliament and assumed executive power in a sudden intervention that his Islamist opponents called a coup but he said was necessary to save the country from collapse.

The statement did not give any details of what assistance could be provided by Saudi Arabia, which reaffirmed its support for Saied’s decisions to protect the country.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said earlier this month his country will give Tunisia one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, and Saudi Arabia has also established an airlift to provide medical aid to this North African country.

>> Coronavirus pandemic in Tunisia: the vaccination campaign intensifies among those over 18

Tunisia is grappling with an unprecedented budget deficit, which reached 11.4% last year.

It is also on the verge of bankruptcy, needing at least $ 3 billion this year to pay off the foreign debts and the salaries of hundreds of thousands of public sector employees.

Some Gulf states saw Saied’s intervention as an attack on the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which they see as their main regional enemy, and which is close to the largest party in the now frozen Tunisian parliament.



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