By Dipo Olowookere
Tunisian President, Beji Caid Essebsi, has said his country was making efforts to show the world that “Islam is not incompatible with democracy.”
He made this known during a visited today to the European Parliament in Brussels, where he was welcomed by Parliament President, Martin Schulz.
They had a meeting during which they discussed developments in Tunisia and EU-Tunisia relations. Essebsi called the visit is a “historic and highly symbolic moment” and addressed MEPs on his country’s commitment to democracy and freedom.
“Tunisia is determined to prove that Islam is not incompatible with democracy,” said Essebsi, who became president in late 2014 after winning the country’s first free elections,
This year is the 40th anniversary of the first cooperation agreement between Tunisia and the EU, Essebsi told MEPS during today’s plenary session in Brussels, “Tunisia and Europe destiny have been closely linked. We have had harmonious links and these are the links to build a strong relationship on.”
The President warned MEPs that Tunisia was “a target for the terrorists” and a democratic experiment that was still vulnerable. “More than ever we need support of European partners,” he said.
Schulz praised Tunisia’s transformation into a democracy: “Your country is a beacon of pluralism and tolerance today. The constitution guarantees the rule of law, individual freedoms and equality for all at a crucial time when populists are actively trying to spread fear.”
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