Tripoli, 27 April 2013
The possibility of Libya and Tunisia creating a free trade zone was at the centre of talks yesterday in Tripoli between the President of the General National Congress, Mohamed Magarief, and the new Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi.
The talks also covered border security and joint experiences in building parliamentary institutions.
Tunisia’s economy, heavily dependent on tourism and agriculture, has been struggling long before its revolution at the beginning of 2011, although economic woes were a major contributing factor to the uprising. However, matters have deteriorated since. As a result Tunisia has been looking even more closely to economic ties with Libya.
The idea of a common market has been increasingly discussed, albeit in general terms, in the last year in the light of the potential synergy between the two country’s economies, their historic bonds and the interlinking circumstances of their revolutions.
In any event, Libya has agreed to provide economic support to its neighbour and revolutionary mentor. Last year it was announced that it would provide it with $200 million in aid.
Moves to supply Tunisia with Libyan crude oil as well as oil products were also agreed last May and took a step forward a fortnight ago with the establishment of a joint committee to oversee the plans.
Furthermore, there is agreement on electricity supplies between the two countries.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by the Congress Member Amina Faraj Emtair, a member of the Justice and Construction Party for Sirte, Magarief adviser Omar Nakua, the Undersecretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abdul Razzaq Al-Qaredi, and the Director of the Presidential Office, Imad Al-Danami, as well as the Senior Advisor to the Tunisian President, Sami Ben Amara, and the Tunisian Ambassador in Tripoli, Reza Abukati.