UPDATE : 2019.6.26 WED 16:20
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‘Our Foreign Minister will visit Korea soon to further upgrade bilateral cooperation’States Ambassador Abed of Tunisia in Seoul at a recent interview

By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editor Kim Jung-mi

Ambassador Nabih El Abed of Tunisia in Seoul stated that Minister of Foreign Affairs M. Khemaies Jhinaoui of his country will visit Korea soon for high-level talks with officials from Korea on bilateral and international issues of common interest and to attend the 10th Joint Committee meeting with the Korean government officials.

Ambassador Nabih El Abel of Tunisia to Korea is interviewed by Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media.

Speaking at an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media at the Embassy of Tunisia in Seoul on March 13, 2018, Ambassador Abed also disclosed, “Next year, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations established in 1969 between Tunisia and Korea and we hope on this occasion that the two countries will intensify the exchange of visit at high level to testify the excellent and profound relations between the two countries while also enhancing the bilateral cooperation, mainly at the economic and commercial level.”
Tunisia is well known as a starting point of democratization in the Middle East in January 2011 through the Korean people know as ‘Jasmine Revolution’ and also as the first country to form a Constitutional Assembly in the region at the time.
On Dec. 14, 2014, Presidential elections were held in the country which resulted in the birth of the Second Republic led by President Beji Caid Essebsi with Prime Minister Habib Essid. It was a good example of a successful democratization in the region.

President Beji Caid Essebsi of the Republic of Tunisia

Korea established formal diplomatic relations with Tunisia in 1969, and has been expanding the bilateral relations and cooperation in all fields. It is well known in Korea that some major Tunisian TVs aired Korean TV dramas such as I am sorry. I love you and The Seonggyungwan Scandal. The K-Pop songs are also known to be popular among the young Tunisians and the Korean people are known to be becoming more and more familiar with Korea, Korean culture and Korean people.
Newly accredited Ambassador Nabih El Abed of Tunisia to Korea, at the interview, appeared to be very strongly interested in the promotion of relations, friendship and cooperation between his country and Korea and it was obvious to the interviewers of The Korea Post media that Korean and Tunisia are now undoubtedly in excellent hands with a bright outlook for substantially increased cooperation and friendship.
Details of the interview follow:

From left: Ambassador Nabih El Abel of Tunisia to in Seoul, Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media and Deputy Head of Mission Ms. Afef Foughali Abdelbari of Tunisia.

Question: Congratulations on the National Day of your Esteemed country. Please introduce in details the National Day for our readers.

Answer: On March 20th of each year, Tunisia celebrates its National Day which commemorates the Independence from France, obtained in 1956. The Independence Day, that ended the French protectorate established in 1881, crowned a long process of negotiations led by nationalists as well as the movement of a strong armed resistance. Of course the history of Tunisia goes back to more than three thousand years with the foundation of the City of Carthago.

Q: What is the current volume of bilateral trade, its outlook in the next 12 months?

A: In 2017, the bilateral trade volume between Korea and Tunisia reached around 180 million dollars, which remains below our expectations.
The Embassy is working closely with the Korean institutions to boost the bilateral commercial cooperation and introduce more the Tunisian products into the Korean market especially the agro-food products such as Olive Oil, dates, fishery, confectionery…. Last year, a delegation from “KOIMA” visited Tunisia at the invitation of the Center for Promotions of Exports “CEPEX” and had fruitful B2B meetings with Tunisian exporting companies. A Tunisian delegation is also expected to pay a visit to Seoul at the occasion of the next visit of H.E the Minister of Foreign Affairs. These endeavors will contribute undoubtedly to increase the bilateral volume of trade and open new horizons for the economic partnership in general.

Ambassador Abel of Tunisia (center) flanked by, from left Reporter Sua Kim, CEO Lee Kap-su, (ambassador), Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik and Editor Ms. Kim Jung-mi

Q: What are the areas in your country where you want Korean companies to invest and what are the areas where you wish your businessmen to invest in Korea?

A: The Tunisian Government is fully aware that the political and Democratic transition achieved after the popular uprising of 2011, cannot be preserved without setting up the basis of an inclusive and sustainable economic and social development model capable of speeding up growth, creating jobs and boosting investments. Therefore, the Government organized in November 2016 an “International Conference on Economic Support and Investment in Tunisia” to present the National Development Plan “Tunisia 2020” and pledge for financial support, in particular through Public-Private Partnership, to implement the mega projects included in the Plan that covers the fields of Transport, Infrastructure, Energy, ICT, Environment….
Many companies from Korea such as Samsung C&T, Korea Telecom and Kia motors already showed a big interest for these projects, taking particularly advantages of the incentives offered by the new Investment law and economic reforms engaged by the Government.
We invite the Korean Government, institutions and companies to participate at these mega projects to boost the Korean Investment in Tunisia, which is among the most competitive and innovative economies in Africa and the Arab world, especially due to its high level and qualified human resources.

The Colosseum of the El Jem

Q: What are the Korean companies actively engaged in the promotion of economic cooperation between Korea and your Esteemed country?

A: Alongside the big companies that I mentioned before and that witnessed an interest for the Tunisian Development projects, I would like specially to mention “Yura Corporation”, which is specialized in the production of wire and cables for the automobile industry. Yura Corporation established since 2007 one of its subsidiaries in Tunisia to assemble wires and bundles of cables to the factories of Kia Motors.
I also seize the opportunity to praise the support of Koica, which has undergone several development projects in Tunisia and contributed to the promotion of the economic cooperation between Tunisia and Korea.

Temple of the Dougga

Q: Please introduce your Head of Government, including major achievements:

A: Béji CAIED Essebssi is the President of Tunisia since December 2014. Previously he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1986 and as Prime Minister from February 2011 to December 2011.He is the founder of the “Nidaa Tounes” political Party, which won a plurality in the 2014 parliamentary election, In December 2014, he won the first regular presidential election following the Tunisian Revolution, becoming Tunisia’s first freely and directly elected President.He enjoys widespread popularity and is seen as a stabilizing force. After his election, he vowed to be President of all Tunisian men and women without exclusion and stressed the importance of consensus among all parties and social movements.

The Sahara Desert

On August 03rd 2016 he appointed Youssef Chahed as Head of Government of Tunisia, to become the 15th Tunisian Prime Minister since the Independence. Chahed is an agricultural engineer, researcher and university professor. He graduated from the Tunisian “National Agronomic Institute” in 1998, before following his studies in Paris in France where he obtained in 1999 his Master Degree in Economics.
Before being appointed Head of Government, he was Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Fishery then he occupied the post of Minister of Local Affairs.
Mr. Chahed endeavored to ensure the country’s safe transition from an increasingly heavy economic and social crisis to the path of economic recovery and democracy building. But I personally consider that the most important achievement of Mr. Chahed is his commitment to fight corruption.

Sidi Bou SIde

Q: What are the attractive tourist destinations of your country?

A: Located in the cross roads at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia offers to visitors a unique deal of diversity in terms of history, archeological monuments, culture and landscapes.
I’m sure that Korean visitors would love the several archeological sites that show the diversity of Tunisian civilization ( The ancient city of Cartago, the second century Roman temple in Dougga, the Phoenician port of Utica, Bulla Regia's Roman villas and El Jem's Coliseum second only to Rome's and the largest mosaics collection in the world)
They also can enjoy its magnificent attractions offered by its glistening and white sandy Mediterranean beaches covering more than 800 miles of coasts as well as a magical Southern part with its lush oases and sweeping Saharan landscapes.
The icing on the cake, I know that Korean people love Golf and I can assure that Tunisia offers the most beautiful and picturesque courses of Golf all the year.

K-pop concert venue in Tunisia

Q: Please introduce yourself in details

A : I’m a carrier diplomat. I joined the MOFA in March 1996 as first secretary of Foreign Affairs.
I’m married, I have a daughter and two sons.
I hold a Master degree in Public International Law. University of law and economical sciences of Sousse
and I followed a National School of Administration (ENA) – diplomatic section.
Being a diplomat gave me the chance to alternate stays between Tunisia and other countries and deal with a variety of issues ranging from training diplomats to drafting agreements and relations with African and European countries.
I served from 2001 to 2006 in the Embassy of Tunisia in Buenos Aires from 2009 to 2014 as a Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in Warsaw.

Kim Jung-mi  edt@koreapost.com

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