Tunisia: US Congressional Letter Calls for Caution with Aid Money

by | Mar 27, 2023 | Diplomacy, Tunisia


On 27 March 2023, 20 members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to express “grave concern” about the acceleration of Tunisia’s “autocratic consolidation.” The letter encourages the Secretary to publicly address these issues which undermine “confidence in the rule of law” and to tie funding to a return of democratic governance.

The letter highlights events beginning in mid-February 2023, including the arrests of a number of opposition figures and the outbreak of violence targeting sub-Saharan African migrants. The letter also expresses concern about opposition figures who were arrested after meetings with US diplomats.


The US Department of State has thus far withheld intense criticism of the Tunisian government, while highlighting concerning trends and expressing support for economic reforms. This has been the case even as the US Congress and other organizations have used much stronger language to express their disappointment with recent events.

The US certainly has a stabilizing role to play in Tunisia, however, the relationship between the two countries remains lukewarm as aid is tapered and concern about democracy rises. How the US balances the maintenance of a stabilizing presence with values-based diplomacy will be seen with time. Our team will continue watching carefully the developments in this key relationship and its impact on Tunisia’s future.


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