Britain is a fairweather friend to Tunisia

The Arab Spring’s star pupil needs continued British support. But assistance is increasingly steered by fears of jihadism

The World Today
Published 6 February 2015 Updated 5 January 2021 2 minute READ

Dr Claire Spencer

Visiting Senior Research Fellow, King’s College London

Britain was one of the first western states to embrace Tunisia’s transition but now it is falling behind as an international partner.

With the second round of presidential elections completed and a new government taking shape, Tunisians are close to completing their post-Arab Spring political transition four years after the removal of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

With a new constitution in place, transitional governments are now giving way to a fully elected one, ready to face the challenges of reviving the economy and tackling security threats.

Britain stood alongside the Tunisians at the beginning of this venture. William Hague was the first European foreign secretary to visit Tunis after the expulsion of Ben Ali, donating £5 million in solidarity.

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