Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Foreign Affairs Minister Rafik Abdessalem reprimanded François Gouyette, French ambassador to Tunisia, for alleged French interference in the country’s internal affairs during a meeting yesterday.
The meeting followed remarks made by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls Thursday related to the assassination of Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid.
The Tunisian government took issue with Valls’ call for “support to the ‘democratic’ opposition in Tunisia,” according to Abdessalem’s Facebook page.
“Chokri Belaid was one of those democrats, who are fighting for values that are universal,” said Valls in an interview with French radio Europe 1. “We must support these democrats so that the values of the Jasmine Revolution will not be betrayed.”
Both Jebali and Abdessalem expressed displeasure with Valls’ reference to “rising Islamic fascism” in North Africa as well as his claim that Tunisia “does not represent a model for countries of the Arab Spring.”
“There is a rising Islamic fascism everywhere, but the darkness must be condemned because it obviously denies the democracy for which the Libyan, Tunisian, and Egyptian people fought,” said Valls in the radio interview.
The meeting between Gouyette, Jebali, and Abdessalem occurred on the same day that a funeral procession for Belaid drew thousands to the capital Tunis.