The Embassy of France is currently trying to still the controversy on social media provoked by comments by the newly installed French Ambassador to Tunisia regarding the security of French citizens living in Tunisia.
According to TAP, the French Embassy is currently attempting calm the furor surrounding the French Ambassador, Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, who commenced his official duties on September 10th. The principal point of contention lies with his statement to radio station RTL on August 30th that his main concern was for the security of the 30,000 French citizens living in Tunisia, as he believed they were targets for the terrorists of which Tunisia was a major supplier.
In an attempt to divert attention from d’Avor’s controversial comments, the Embassy of France has re-emphasized France’s commitment to supporting Tunisia’s development as a democracy, and fostering the economic and cultural cooperation between the two states, stating,”It is the breadth and diversity of the French-Tunisian cooperation that make the relation exceptional, according to the term used by Olivier Poivre d’Arvor himself, which makes France the leading partner of Tunisia.”
Speaking to Tunisia Live, Professor of Contemporary History, Islamism and Salafism at Manouba University, Alaya Allani commented that figures concerning the amount of Tunisians going to fight for jihadist organisations such as ISIS, (Daesh) are often over inflated “The Ambassador may have read one report that 7,000 Tunisians have left to fight [for jihadi organisations] when the number is closer to 5,000″ He noted ironically that, “there are many more jihadists coming from Europe”.
In terms of domestic security Allani commented that in Tunisia “For the moment the terrorism is under control. For the moment there is a certain status quo.” Alaya said that France has a role to play in security and counter-terrorism. “There is a need for a exchange of security intelligence, not just with France but with all countries.”