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US, Tunisia Sign Military Assistance Agreement

The United States and Tunisia signed a 10-year military cooperation deal during US Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s visit to the North African nation. The deal will provide additional assistance and training to Tunisia as it faces increased pressure from guerrilla fighters and jihadists operating along its border with Libya. Tunisia and the US have close military cooperation, notably in training Tunisian forces and working to secure Tunisia’s southern border with Libya. According to the US Africa Command, the US has allocated over $1 billion to Tunisia’s military. In remarks after meeting Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed, Esper noted, “We look forward to expanding this relationship to help Tunisia protect its maritime ports and land borders, deter terrorism and keep the corrosive efforts of autocratic regimes out of your country.” He also visited a cemetery in Carthage where 2,841 American soldiers, mostly killed in World War II, are buried. There he warned of the worldwide threat posed by “violent extremists.” Tunisia is Esper’s first stop on this, his first trip to North Africa. He is also visiting Morroco and Algeria.