Tuesday, March 29, 2016

US to Fund Multi-million-dollar Tunisia Border Surveillance
Tunisian security forces check vehicles near the customs post at the Ras Jedir border crossing with Libya, south of the town of Ben Guerdane, on March 22, 2016 after it was reopened after a two-week closure (AFP)

AFP, Tunis
Saturday, 26 March 2016

The United States has agreed to fund a multi-million-dollar project to install an electronic security surveillance system on Tunisia's border with strife-torn Libya, the US embassy said Friday.

In a statement, the diplomatic mission said that the US was disbursing the first installment of the $24.9 million project to strengthen security along the frontier.

The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) awarded the contract to American construction group BTP and consulting and engineering firm AECOM, a diplomatic source told AFP.

According to the embassy, the project involves the installation of an integrated surveillance system using sensors and regular security equipment.

The project includes training Tunisian forces to use the system, the statement added, without giving a start or completion date.

Tunisia has built a 200-kilometre (125-mile) barrier that stretches about half the length of its border with Libya in an attempt to prevent militants from infiltrating.

A series of deadly attacks by ISIS on foreign holidaymakers last year, which have dealt a devastating blow to the country's tourism industry, are believed to have been planned from Libya.

Last Update: Saturday, 26 March 2016 KSA 08:30 - GMT 05:30

In Tunisia, Ban welcomes country's democratic progress

28 March 2016 – While in Tunisia's capital today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the country's democratic progress while reaffirming the United Nations' support to its citizens and Government.

“[World Bank President] Kim and I are here to show our support to Tunisia, where progress towards stability and prosperity are advancing despite significant economic and security challenges,” the UN chief told reporters at a press conference in Tunis.

“We've just met with his excellency President Beji Caid Essebsi. I congratulated him for the democratic progress made in Tunisia. I also lauded his efforts to reduce social and economic inequalities. I assured him that the United Nations supports Tunisia's citizens and Government at a time when the country is in transition,” he added.

Mr. Ban noted that unemployment, especially among youth, is one of the biggest challenges affecting Tunisia. “I am impatient to hear young people tell me in person about their fears and the kind of help or support they need,” indicated the UN chief, who will be attending a national conference on employment tomorrow, organized by the Tunisian Prime Minister.

“The United Nations I ready to continue its collaboration with the Government of Tunisia to build on programmes that creates jobs and reduce inequalities,” he stressed.

In addition to meeting the President, Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim are scheduled to meet Prime Minister Habib Essid, as well as the President of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, Mohamed Ennaceur. Talks are expected to focus on concrete proposals to generate economic results that benefit the Tunisian population, especially relating to job creation and economic support.

At the press conference, the Secretary-General also expressed the global community's concern about the terrorist attacks that recently targeted Tunisia.

“The United Nations recognizes the impact of the situation in Libya on Tunisia, in particular on its economy and security. We are working towards a political solution in Libya. This remains the only way to end the crisis and to stabilize both the country and the region,” he concluded.

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