Kais Saied condemns US 'for meddling in internal affairs of Tunisia'

Tunisian President's comments came while meeting a US delegation in Carthage

Tunisian President Kais Saied, right, meets the US delegation at Carthage Palace. Photo: Tunisian Presidency
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Tunisian President Kais Saied has rejected US officials’ public criticism of the political situation in his country and described it as a form of meddling in its internal matters.

His comments came at a meeting on Sunday with members of the US Congress at the Carthage Presidential Palace.

“The recent remarks by some officials are unacceptable, as Tunisia is free and sovereign and sovereignty rests in the hands of its people who expressed their will through the referendum and will do it again in upcoming [legislative] elections,” Mr Saied said, according to a statement published late on Sunday on the presidency’s Facebook page.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry last month summoned Natasha Franceschi, US charge d’affaires, to protest against statements made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and ambassador to Tunisia nominee Joey Hood, which the ministry felt were unnecessarily critical of the country's politics.

“These are statements that completely contradict the provisions and principles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” the ministry said at the time.

During his meeting with the American delegation, Mr Saied also criticised the language of certain parties when discussing the decade since the Arab uprisings and their effect on politics in the region.

“Democracy can only be achieved under social justice and with an independent, as well as just judiciary in which everyone is equal,” he said.

The US embassy in Tunis said members of the delegation had raised concerns about the North African country’s democratic trajectory and urged the president to be more inclusive in his policies.

“Members of the delegation ... urged the swift adoption of an inclusive electoral law that facilitates the broadest possible participation in the upcoming legislative elections,” a US embassy statement said.

Mr Saied last week announced that a new electoral law was being prepared to be passed before Tunisia's legislative elections on December 17.

Updated: June 19, 2023, 1:13 PM