Strasbourg, 5 April 2012 - "We need the full support of the Council of Europe and the European Union to set up independent democratic institutions, a vibrant civil society and a free media”, underlined the Tunisian Foreign Minister.
The President of Tunisia, Mr Moncef Marzouki emphasised, “we are extremely interested in improving relations. We want to strengthen ties at all levels.”
The government of Morocco indicated their readiness to finalise negotiations on similar co-operation programmes with the Council of Europe. “It is fundamental that we share a common space of values”, Moroccan Foreign Minister, Dr Saad Dine El Otmani, underlined in his meeting with SG Thorbjørn Jagland in Rabat on 3 April.
During meetings in Rabat and Tunis, Secretary General Jagland outlined the main elements of the new Council of Europe neighbourhood policy, a strategic approach endorsed by the organisation’s Committee of Ministers in Istanbul last May.
“Countries in the Arab region have asked for expert advice from the Council of Europe in a number of areas, such as constitutional reform and judicial and electoral reform, and we stand ready to assist”, stressed Jagland during the visits to Rabat and Tunis.
In Rabat, Jagland also met with the President of the Moroccan Senate, Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah, and the Interministerial Human Rights Co-ordinator, Mr Mahjoub El Hiba.
In Tunis, he also met with the Head of the Government Mr Hamadi Jebali and the President of the Tunisian Constituent Assembly, Mr Mustapha Ben Jaafar.