Tunisia and The Libyan crisis; IMF Reforms; Anticorruption Law.
(by Fatma Benmosbah*)
The Libyan conflict and the Tunisian initiative
“Inter-Libyan dialogue is the only way to solve the crisis.” Tunisian president Béji Caid Essebsi told the Washington Post in a recent interview, that Tunisia is “in the best position to know the Libyan problem because we have very old, historic relationships. We took the initiative to convene all of Libya’s neighboring countries. We will have a dialogue on the best ways and means to find a permanent and durable solution.” The Tunisian head of state also said that he would meet with any Libyan party with a role in the Libyan crisis, while announcing his intention to meet with military commander Khelifa Haftar soon in Tunis, (Mr. Caid Essebsi has already met with the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya , Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj). Mr. Essebsi also believes that the Libyan crisis can be resolved only within a regional framework involving the three immediate neighbors of Libya: Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. Accordingly, he started an initiative to which subscribed his Egyptian and Algerian counterparts, President Abdelfattah al-Sissi, and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The three of them adhere to the idea that it is through inter-Libyan dialogue that the differences between the main domestic players will be overcome in favor of a Libyan national consensus.
On February 21, Foreign Ministers of Egypt Sameh Chokri and Algeria Abdelkader Messahel and their Tunisian counterpart Khemaïs Jhinaoui, held a consultation meeting about the Libyan crisis. According to Mr. Jhinaoui, among the reasons behind the launch of this initiative are, in addition to terrorism, the negative and direct consequences of the Libyan crisis on Tunisia. In 2010, Libya was Tunisia’s second economic largest partner after the European Union with a trade volume of over $ 2.5 billion. The Tunisian president’s initiative, insists the Minister of Foreign Affairs, “has created a real dynamic in Libya”. It had a favorable response at the regional and international levels and was supported by Algeria, Egypt and the European Union. It was also supported by other countries such as Germany, Italy and the United States, but also UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who affirmed his willingness to help make it a success. Following the meeting, a communiqué was issued stating the 5 main points of the initiative.
Implementation of the reforms demanded by the IMF
The head of the Tunisian government, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, carried out on Saturday (Feb.25), a partial cabinet reshuffle, including the dismissal of the Minister of Public Service and Governance, Abid Briki, a prominent member of the UGTT (the main labor union in Tunisia), appointing instead a businessman to head the Ministry. In an interview with El Hiwar Ettounssi TV, Youssef Chahed talked about this partial reshuffle and other topics related to current events in the country, such as privatizations, and the IMF demands, including reducing the size of the civil service with the”layoff at least 10,000 public sector employees , to allow loans disbursement to Tunisia
The Assembly of People’s Representatives (APR) unanimously adopted an amended version of a draft law on the denunciation of corruption and the protection of its whistleblowers.
(This Review was conducted by Fatma Benmosbah, an analyst of local and Arab affairs based in Tunisia. It was translated from the French by the Maghreb Center.)