‘I Am Proud African,’ Tunisian President Saied Says

Tunisian President Kais Saied, right, shakes hands with President of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo before a meeting in Carthage, near Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday, March 8, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaFollowing Kais Saied’s decision to urge Tunisia’s security forces to take measures in order to cope with illegal migration, he has faced a wave of criticism, including racism accusations. However, right after that, Tunisia introduced support measures for migrants and underlined its African identity.Tunisian President Kais Saied called himself a “proud African” during the Tunisia-hosted meeting with his Bissau-Guinean counterpart and ECOWAS chair, Umaro Sissoco Embalo. The latter’s visit to the North African country took place in the wake of racism accusations made against Saied following his comments on countering illegal immigration.”There is the Tunisian state, the sovereign Tunisian legality concerning the status of foreigners, even though they are our brothers; they may not have Tunisian nationality, but they are our brothers. I believe that any country wouldn’t accept parallel jurisdictions to the state’s jurisdictions,” Saied said.Emballo, in turn, stated that he would not believe that the president of Tunisia, the country of Bourguiba, could be xenophobic or racist. “You yourself are African,” he said.

"I am indeed, and a proud African," Tunisian president answered.

Habib Bourguiba, the first president of Tunisia, is often described as the leader who established modern Tunisian society through a number of progressive reforms.AfricaTunisia Announces Support Measures for Sub-Saharan African Refugees6 March, 09:18 GMTEarlier this week, Tunisian authorities announced a package of support measures to ease a number of procedures for migrants and students from sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, it was decided to extend student resident cards for a year as well as to prolong these documents for migrants for three to six months.Tunis said it would offer assistance to migrants who voluntarily leave the country.

"African brothers and sisters" who return home voluntarily will be exempt from paying fines for exceeding the allowed period of residence in the country, a government statement said.

Last week saw a lot of criticism from a number of African and European countries against Saied, triggered by his decision to urge the Tunisian security forces to put an end to illegal migration.The Tunisian government, president, and Foreign Ministry on their official webpages said they were surprised by the “campaign to accuse [the country] of alleged racism.”Tunisia denied the allegations, pointing to the fact that it was among the founders of the Organization of African Unity, which later became the African Union.


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