Tunisia's President Kais Saied rails against international critics

US and other countries have condemned the wave of arrests in the country that began on Saturday

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets President Kais Saied of Tunisia, centre-right, during the US- Africa Leaders Summit, in December. EPA
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Tunisian President Kais Saied on Thursday accused foreign countries of interference and causing "harm to the country's sovereignty".

He was speaking in a meeting with Prime Minister Najla Bouden, after international condemnation of the recent arrest of opposition figures in the country.

“Tunisia’s sovereignty is above all considerations and the state operates in full respect of the law and the facts will come as a resounding earthquake soon,” Mr Saied told Ms Bouden.

“Let them [foreign countries] take a look at their history and reality first before examining Tunisia's history and current situation,” he added.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told Reuters earlier this week that Washington was “deeply concerned” about the reported arrests of political figures, businessmen and journalists in Tunisia, and the US had communicated its support of human rights and freedom of expression to the government.

Since Saturday police have detained a number of leading figures with links to the opposition or to critics of Mr Saied, including prominent politicians, a powerful businessman and the head of Tunisia's largest private radio station.

The Tunisian president said the international reaction to these arrests was a form of meddling and Tunisia was capable of diagnosing the causes of deterioration and finding solutions to its people’s demands.

Mr Saied also called on the countries that really want to help Tunisia to return its looted money (embezzled by the pre-2011 Ben Ali regime) or to forgive its debts that have been accumulating one year after the other.

Updated: February 17, 2023, 1:22 PM