Foreign relations of Tunisia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Coat of arms of Tunisia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunisia portal

Former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has maintained Tunisia's long-time policy of seeking good relations with the West, while playing an active role in Arab and African regional bodies. President Habib Bourguiba took a nonaligned stance but emphasized close relations with Europe and the United States.

Bilateral relations[edit]


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Algeria See Algeria–Tunisia relations

Tunisia and Algeria resolved a longstanding border dispute in 1993 and have cooperated in the construction of the Trans-Mediterranean natural gas pipeline through Tunisia that connects Algeria to Italy. In 2003 Tunisia and Algeria formed Numhyd, a petroleum company to develop oil resources. It is jointly owned (each 50%) by government corporations, Algeria's Sonatrach and Tunisia's Entreprise Tunisienne d'Activites Petroliere (ETAP). Recently Tunisia signed an agreement with Algeria in order to demarcate more exactly the maritime frontier between the two countries.


Both countries have established diplomatic relations.[1]


In the 1950s the President of Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, criticized on pragmatic grounds the type of Arab nationalism then promoted by Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, which was a widely popular ideology at the time in the Arabic-speaking countries. Their disagreement also concerned the policies of the Arab League. Bourguiba and Nassar eventually came to find some common ground.[2] Although ties were broken under Nasser, and again under Anwar Sadat, on the whole relations between Egypt and Tunisia have remained mutually beneficial.

After the Tunisian revolution in 2011, the Tunisian-Egyptian relations were very good, especially after the 2011 elections in Tunisia, where won the Ennahda Movement Islamic-oriented the elections, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt won the elections, and also the convergence between the two presidents Moncef Marzouki and Mohamed Morsi. But since the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, relations became increasingly strained, and between the two and considered Tunisia that what is happening in Egypt is a military coup d'État bloody and protested against it in the United Nations, which led to a diplomatic crisis in relations severed in an indirect way and there is a lack of official visits at all levels. After the 2014 elections in Tunisia and the win of Nidaa Tounes's secular movement, improved relations and exchanged visits between officials and ministers.

 Libya See Libya–Tunisia relations

Tunisia's relations with Libya have been erratic since Tunisia annulled a brief agreement to form a union in 1974. Diplomatic relations were broken in 1976, restored in 1977, and deteriorated again in 1980, when Libyan-trained rebels attempted to seize the town of Gafsa. In 1982, the International Court of Justice ruled in Libya's favor in the partition of the oil-rich continental shelf it shares with Tunisia. Libya's 1985 expulsion of Tunisian workers and military threats led Tunisia to sever relations. Relations were normalized again in 1987. While supporting the United Nations sanctions imposed following airline bombings, Tunisia has been careful to maintain positive relations with its neighbor. Tunisia supported the lifting of UN sanctions against Libya in 2003, and Libya is again becoming a major trading partner. Currently, Tunisia has a maritime dispute with Libya.


Trade is increasing between Tunisia and Morocco. Direct maritime shipping commenced between the two countries in 2008 to supplement rail connections that remained uncertain. Also, the stock exchanges of Tunis and Casablanca this year began to jointly list the stock of a Maghriban company, this initial case involving an IPO.[3]


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
  • Argentina has an embassy in Tunis.
  • Tunisia has an embassy in Buenos Aires.

Both countries have passed a number of bilateral agreements.[4]

 Brazil 1956
  • Brazil has an embassy in Tunis.
  • Tunisia has an embassy in Brasilia.
  • Canada has an embassy in Tunis.
  • Tunisia has an embassy in Ottawa.
 Mexico 16 November 1961
  • Mexico is accredited to Tunisia from its embassy in Algiers, Algeria and maintains an honorary consulate in Tunis.[5]
  • Tunisia is accredited to Mexico from its embassy in Washington, D.C., United States.[6]
 United States See Tunisia–United States relations
The Embassy of Tunisia in Washington, D.C.

The States has very good relations with Tunisia, which date back more than 200 years. The United States has maintained official representation in Tunis almost continuously since 1795, and the American Friendship Treaty with Tunisia was signed in 1799. The two governments are not linked by security treaties, but relations have been close since Tunisia's independence. In each case, however, relations warmed again quickly, reflecting strong bilateral ties. The United States and Tunisia have an active schedule of joint military exercises. U.S. security assistance historically has played an important role in cementing relations. The U.S.-Tunisian Joint Military Commission meets annually to discuss military cooperation, Tunisia's defense modernization program, and other security matters. Since 2015, Tunisia and the United States are allies under the Major non-NATO ally agreement.


Tunisia has long been a voice for moderation and realism in the Middle East. Tunisia served as the headquarters of the Arab League from 1979 to 1990 and hosted the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) headquarters from 1982 to 1993, when the PLO Executive Committee relocated to Jericho and the Palestinian Authority was established after the signing of the Oslo Accords. The PLO Political Department remains in Tunis.

Tunisia consistently has played a moderating role in the negotiations for a comprehensive Middle East peace. In 1993, Tunisia was the first Arab country to host an official Israeli delegation as part of the Middle East peace process and maintained an Interests Section until the outbreak in 2000 of the Intifada. Israeli citizens of Tunisian descent may travel to Tunisia on their Israeli passports.

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Armenia 15 July 2002
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 July 2002.
 India See India–Tunisia relations

In May, 2005, Tunisia signed with Iran an agreement for cooperation in air, sea, and road transportation. It was signed on the visit of Tunisian minister Abderrahim Zouari to Iran.[7]


Tunisia and Japan have a visa agreement, Tunisian people traveling to Japan and Japanese people traveling to Tunisia do not need a visa, as long as their stay do not exceed 3 months. Japan also supports Tunisia, with equipment and money donations. Both countries had friendly relations since Tunisia's independence in 1956. Since 2015, Tunisia and Japan are allies under the Major non-NATO ally agreement.


Tunisia and Lebanon share historical and civilizational ties. In June, 2010, the Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi and his Lebanese counterpart Mr. Saad Hariri chaired a Tunisian-Lebanese working session. Both countries want to energize the process for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. In addition, Tunisia reaffirmed its support of Lebanon.[8]

 Pakistan See Pakistan–Tunisia relations

Pakistan supported Tunisia on the issue of its complete control on Bizerte and declared it an integral part of Tunisia. People of Pakistan always supported Tunisia in their struggle of freedom. Former Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba had always supported Pakistan's point of view and both countries enjoy very good relations.

 Qatar See Qatar–Tunisia relations

Qatar is among the largest Arab investors in Tunisia.[9] Relations between Qatar and Tunisia improved immensely between 2011 and 2013, when Ennahda Movement-affiliated candidate Hamadi Jebali was declared Prime Minister of Tunisia in the 2011 Tunisian Constituent Assembly elections. Cooperation in all fields gradually started picking up traction; for instance, the two governments signed ten bilateral agreements in 2012.[10] One of the agreements involved the Qatar Armed Forces enlisting Tunisian military personnel within its ranks.[11]

 Saudi Arabia

In July 2010, a Tunisian-Saudi non-double taxation agreement was signed in Tunis, by Finance Minister Ridha Chalghoum and his Saudi counterpart Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf. The two ministers said this convention will certainly help boost trade exchanges between Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, stimulate investments, and favour exchange of expertise between the two countries.

In particular, it will further the Tunisian-Saudi Investment and Development Bank "STUSID Bank" in developing financial co-operation and the contribution of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) to boost the development process in Tunisia. The minister highlighted the importance of drawing on the two countries' expertise in the tax and customs field and set up a joint action plan to strengthen co-operation.[12]

 South Korea March 1969

Establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Republic of Tunisia was is March 1969.[13] Since 2015, Tunisia and South Korea are U.S. allies under the Major non-NATO ally agreement.


The 11th session of the Tunisian-Syrian High Joint Committee met in Tunis in May 2010. The two countries share experience and information on such issues as housing, shipping, and tourism.[14]

 Turkey See Tunisia–Turkey relations

Tunisia has an embassy in Ankara and a consulate-general in Istanbul.[15] Turkey has an embassy in Tunis.[16] Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean.


Country Formal Relations Began Notes

Both countries have a number of bilateral agreements.[17][18] Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean.

 Bulgaria 1956
 Croatia 1993-01-30
  • Croatia is represented in Tunisia through its embassy in Rabat (Morocco) and an honorary consulate in Tunis.
  • Tunisia is represented in Croatia through its embassy in Vienna (Austria) and an honorary consulate in Zagreb.
  • Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean.
 Cyprus 1999
 Finland 1956-06-08
 France See France–Tunisia relations

Tunisia and France retain a special relationship due to their history, geographic location, and economic relationship. In France there is a sizeable Tunisian diaspora, and the French language is widely used in Tunisia. Business and government connections are extensive and mutually maintained. Ranked by country, France receives the largest amount of Tunisian exports, and France is number-one regarding Tunisian imports also. In recent years many French companies have re-localized production to Tunisia.


Greece-Tunisia relations

 Italy See Italy–Tunisia relations
 Malta See Malta–Tunisia relations
  • Both countries established official diplomatic relations soon after Malta’s independence.
  • Malta has an embassy in Tunis.[24]
  • Tunisia has an embassy in Valletta.
  • Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean.
  • Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
  • Maltese and Tunisian Arabic are very similar languages. The two countries share very rich historical links.
 Romania 1963 See Romania–Tunisia relations
 Russia 1956 See Russia–Tunisia relations

Russia has an embassy in Tunis, and Tunisia has an embassy in Moscow.


Tunisia enjoys good relations with Serbia and are important trading partners. Tunisia is a hugely popular tourist destination for Serbs.


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
  • Australia is accredited to Tunisia from its high commission in Valletta, Malta.
  • Tunisia has an embassy in Canberra.
 Vanuatu 1 November 1988

Both countries established diplomatic relations on November 1, 1988.[26]

Foreign Ambassadors[edit]

  • Farid Abboud, Lebanese Ambassador to Tunisia (2007–2013)
  • Jake Walles, American Ambassador to Tunisia (2012–2016) Preceded by Daniel Rubinstein [27]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Jacques Baulin, The Arab role in Africa (Penguin 1962) at 118-128.
  3. ^ "Direct maritime transport commences between Tunisia and Morocco" - April 4, 2008.
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Relations between Mexico and Tunisia (in Spanish)
  6. ^ Embassy of Tunisia in the United States
  7. ^ "Iran, Tunisia sign deal on transportation cooperation," People's Daily Online, May 16, 2005.
  8. ^ "Tunisia, Lebanon delagations hold working sessions" - June 26, 2010.
  9. ^ Youssef Cherif (7 September 2017). "Everyone is taking sides in the Qatar crisis. Here's why these four North African states aren't". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  10. ^ Youssef Cherif (17 January 2017). "Tunisia's Fledgling Gulf Relations". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Qatari Army to enlist Tunisian army units". Voltaire Network. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Tunisia-Saudi Arabia: Non-double taxation agreement signed" - July 8, 2010.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Tunisia-Syria boost bilateral co-operation" - May 14, 2010.
  15. ^ Tunisian embassies in Turkey
  16. ^ Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the relations with Tunisia
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ [4]
  19. ^ Bulgarian embassy in Tunis
  20. ^ Danish embassy in Algiers, also accredited to Tunisia (in Danish and French only)
  21. ^ Embassy of Finland in Rabat (in Finnish, Swedish, French and English)
  22. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece
  23. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece
  24. ^ "Sorry. The page you are looking for does not exist" (PDF). Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  25. ^ Romanian embassy in Tunis (in French and Romanian only)
  26. ^ [5]
  27. ^

See also[edit]