Several voices were raised in Tunisia to express their outrage at the Tunisian president’s official reception to the leader of the separatist militia of the “polisario” as part of the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8), whose work began Saturday in Tunis.
This “hostile” and “unprecedented” act has sparked the indignation of several personalities of the political landscape who denounce a “dangerous turnaround” on the diplomatic front, to the detriment of privileged and fraternal relations between the two countries.
Reacting to the reception of the leader of the separatists in Tunis, Al-Majd party president Abdel Wahab Hani called this act a “dangerous turnaround” vis-à-vis the constants of Tunisian diplomacy and a “political suicide” which will undoubtedly “expose the supreme interests of Tunisia and its credibility to great difficulties.”
Civil society activist Hani wondered about the reasons behind the pompous reception reserved for the head of the separatist entity, while other “brotherly” African heads of state were not received by Kais Saied upon their arrival at the Tunis airport.
“The Tunisian president was content to send them the head of government, who welcomed them in an icy atmosphere, without being entitled to the official welcoming ceremony,” he noted.
For his part, former Tunisian diplomat Elyes Kasri strongly denounced this act, which marks a break by Tunisia of its policy of balance between its two neighbors, Morocco and Algeria.
Through this act, “Tunisia breaks with its policy of balance between its two Maghreb neighbors and aligns itself with Algeria against Morocco, which has not hidden its discontent,” said the former Director General for the Americas and Asia of the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In a post on his Facebook page, he explained that “unfortunately, the Tunisian political and diplomatic leadership has preferred to be inspired by the Japanese technique of hara-kiri by granting the [polisario] delegation an unusual welcome for Tunisia, which many African delegations did not receive.”
“We could have expected a better transfer of technology and know-how through closer cooperation with Japan by hosting the TICAD 8 summit,” said the former Tunisian ambassador to Seoul, New Delhi, Tokyo and Berlin.
He said that after the economic success with shortages of grain, medicine, sugar, coffee and gasoline, “it is the turn of diplomacy to make us fear the next initiative that will lead us to further isolation on the international scene.”
On the other hand, Democratic Current Secretary General Ghazi Chaouachi stressed that his country’s attitude reflects “improvisation” and “incompetence” and a lack of clear vision in diplomatic relations.
“What is the polisario in an economic summit that brings together African countries with Japan, especially since the latter does not recognize the separatist entity,” said Chaouachi, also a former minister, on social networks.
On the same line, Mohamed Lassaad Abid, Secretary General of the Tunisian Labor Organization (OTT), said that this act will lead to an isolation of Tunisia at the “Arab”, “African” and “international”, calling this step a political suicide “unprecedented” of Tunisian diplomacy.