WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. deputy national security adviser met Tunisia’s president on Friday and discussed the urgent need to appoint a prime minister designate to form a capable government, the White House said.
The adviser, Jonathan Finer, delivered a message to President Kais Saied from U.S. President Joe Biden, “reaffirming his personal support, and that of the Biden-Harris Administration, for the Tunisian people and urging a swift return to the path of Tunisia’s parliamentary democracy,” the statement said.
Finer traveled to Tunis with U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood, the statement said.
It said he “discussed with President Saied the urgent need to appoint a prime minister designate who would form a capable government able to address the immediate economic and health crises facing Tunisia.”
“Empowering a new government to stabilize the economy will also create space for an inclusive dialogue about proposed constitutional and electoral reforms,” it added.
The statement said Finer also met with civil society leaders and conveyed U.S. support for their active participation in building a democratic future.
Saied dismissed the prime minister and suspended parliament on July 25 in moves opponents branded a coup. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Saied last month and urged him to take action to return the country “to the democratic path.”
A Facebook post by the Tunisian presidency said Saied told the U.S. officials measures he had taken were within the framework of implementing the constitution and responding to a popular will in light of the political, economic and social crises, and rampant corruption and bribery.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Tim Ahmann and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Chang)