Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar arrived Monday, September 24, in Tunisia for a daylong working visit during which he will sign cooperation and aid agreements, officials said. Aznar was met at the Tunis-Carthage airport by Tunisian Prime Minister Muhammad Ghannuchi, with whom he went into talks due to be followed by a working session with aides.
The Spanish leader was later expected to meet President Zain Al-Abidin Bin Ali and take part in a joint economic seminar attended by delegates from the two Mediterranean countries. During the day, Spain and Tunisia will sign cooperation and aid agreements, including one for financial assistance worth €105 million ($96 million), a Spanish source said. Two accords on legal, scientific and technical cooperation were also to be signed.
Aznar, who was in Tunisia on a regular visit following the signing of a friendship treaty in October 1995, was accompanied by his secretaries of state for foreign affairs, justice and higher education.
The prime minister had planned to precede the official part of his trip with a weekend visit to the oasis town of Tozeur near the eastern rim of the Sahara desert, but a Spanish source said this was called off in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Spain is the fifth largest importer of Tunisian goods and the sixth biggest exporter of produce to the North African country. Total trade was estimated at more than €696 million ($636 million) in 2000. ― (AFP, Tunis)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )