Tunisia parliament rejects restoring diplomatic ties with Syria

The Tunisian parliament has rejected a petition to restore diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime.

Sixty-eight lawmakers voted in favour of the petition, 27 abstained and six rejected the petition, which needed 109 votes to be considered valid.

In April lawmakers belonging to four parliamentary groups – Al-Horra, the Popular Front, UPL and Afek Tounes – filed a petition demanding diplomatic relations with Syria be restored.

In March seven MPs visited Syria to restore relations with the Syrian regime and to collaborate in investigating extremist networks that recruit young Tunisians.

The petition signatories said “the restoration of relations is in line with the preamble to the constitution, which reaffirms that Tunisia belongs at a cultural level to the civilisation of the Arab and Islamic world [and calls] for national unity based on citizenship, brotherhood, solidarity and social justice, and for a Maghreb union as the first step towards Arab unity.”

The signatories also reiterated that Tunisia is a member of the Arab League.

In February 2012, former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki severed diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime and expelled the Syrian ambassador from Tunisia over the regime’s atrocities against civilians.