Tunisian parliamentary delegation visits Syria, meets Bashar Al-Assad

A Tunisian parliamentary delegation embarked on a nine-day visit to the Syrian capital of Damascus on 4 August, for meeting with Syrian senior officials, according to Tunisia news website.

A delegation of Tunisian MPs Friday flew to Syria to push for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.

Assessor of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) Speaker in charge of Information and Communication Mongi Harbaoui said “it is not an official parliamentary delegation; the HPR Bureau did not issue an authorisation. This visit is an initiative by a group of deputies.”

Contacted by TAP, MP Sahbi Ben Fraj said this one-week visit is a follow-up of a first one made last March. Deputies will express the willingness of the Tunisian people and parliament to restore diplomatic ties with Syria, he indicated. Members of the delegation will meet with several senior Syrian officials.

Led by MP M’barka Aouainia (Popular Front), the delegation is made up of Haykel Ben Belgacem, Abdelmoumem Belaânes and Chafik Ayadi (PF), Slah Bergaoui, Rabha Ben Hsine and Leila Chettaoui (Al-Horra parliamentary group/ Machrou Tounes), Mohamed Hèdi Gueddiche (Nidaa Tounes) and Adnène Hajji (Democratic Group).

A Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) delegation visited Syria last week to advocate the resumption of relations.

A draft motion tabled in April by Al Horra, the PF, the Free Patriotic Union and Afek Tounes failed to pass on July 19 with 68 votes in favour, 6 against and 27 abstentions.

Diplomatic ties were severed in February 2012 after former president Mohamed Moncef Marzouki expelled Syria’s ambassador to Tunisia

The Tunisian website added that among the parliamentarians in the delegation were: Laila Al-Shatawi, Mubarak Awainiya, Salah Al-Barqawi and Rabiha Bin Hussein.

Assad receives the Tunisian delegation

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad received on Monday (7 August) the Tunisian parliamentary delegation that was on a visit to Syria. Al-Assad stressed that the ‘visits of delegations from the brotherly Republic of Tunisia at various popular and parliamentary levels to Syria reflect the movement and vitality within the Tunisian society’, pointing out that these visits are important for dialogue and to see the reality of the situation on the ground.

For their part, members of the Tunisian delegation said that they came to Syria to express the supportive position of the Tunisian people towards the Syrians. They stressed their determination to activate the work for further coordination between the Tunisian and Syrian parliaments in all fields.

Al-Moallem meets the delegation 

In the same context, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem met the Tunisian delegation and affirmed the importance of developing parliamentary relations between the two countries.