Oiling the gears of diplomacy
Tunisia celebrated its National Day with an evening of friendship and fine dining (including a goodie bag with delicious local Olivko olive oil) that underlined the ever-strengthening trade ties the north African country is forging with the UK.
Addressing guests, the Ambassador of Tunisia, Nabil Ben Khedher listed the many areas of bilateral cooperation between the two nations, including security, higher education, the fight against corruption and tourism – with a steady stream of British tourists returning to Tunisia following the lifting of travel restrictions in June 2017.
Ambassador Khedher said Tunisia is also working towards building a new economic relationship with the UK post-Brexit and is making sure there’s a smooth transition of the EU-Tunisia Association Agreement. “British and Tunisian interest have essentially been those of trade and business and this is true as the UK prepares to leave the European Union,” he pointed out. “It is my intention to build on our longstanding and solid relationship.”
The ambassador applauded the role institutions like the All-Parliamentary Group on Tunisia, chaired by Damien Moore MP, and the recently-relaunched British Tunisian Society, headed by Robin Kealy, is playing in building bridges between the countries.
Alistair Burt MP, representing the government, echoed the Ambassador’s words of maintaining a close bond between the countries. “If there is one thing that gets me up in the morning and keeps me going (during the Brexit process) it’s the relationship with Tunisia and that your olive oil will be coming in greater quantities to the UK,” he joked, to loud laughter from guests.
Above photo: Alastair Burt MP addresses the guests
PHOTOS: PIERRE DE VILLIERS