14 August 2014
L’aouina — The Ministry of Interior received, Thursday, more ten tons of bulletproof vests, helmets, shields and other personnel protective gear as a donation from the US government to police and the National Guard.
A ceremony was held, on the occasion, in the Aouina barracks.
Minister of Interior Lotfi Ben Jeddou extended thanks to the United States and the US Ambassador in Tunis for their constant support as Tunisia transitions to democracy.
This support finds anew expression in the delivery of personnel protective gear as well as in training, he pointed out.
The third and fourth generation equipment will help specialised police units conduct assault operations and fight terrorism under good conditions, Ben Jeddou highlighted.
“The donation of this equipment demonstrates our strong commitment to support Tunisia’s fight against terrorism and our determination to help Tunisia succeed in its transition to democracy,” said US Ambassador to Tunisia Jacob Walles.
The equipment provided was requested by interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, he indicated.
“Together with the training that we are providing,” the new equipment “will help save the lives of Tunisia’s security officers, allow them to be even more effective in their efforts to dismantle terrorist groups” and give them the tools they need to provide security for the Tunisian people and patrol Tunisia’s borders, Walles underlined.
These terrorist groups seek to “destabilise the democratic transition and upcoming elections,” he added.
The American diplomat also said he is working to speed up the delivery of additional equipment requested by PM Jomaa.
“President Obama, Vice President Biden and the entire US national security team stand together with Tunisia at this critical time” and are determined to give it the tools and assistance to defeat terrorism, Ambassador Walles highlighted.
In this respect, he reminded that President Obama announced at Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, held August 5-6, that Tunisia “would be among six African countries to be part of a new Security Governance Initiative (SGI) that will help strengthen security oversight and management.”
Additionally, he said he supports Prime Minister Jomaa’s initiative to establish a “Fusion Centre” that will bring together the different parts of the ministries of Interior, Defence and Justice to coordinate their efforts more closely in the fight against terror.
“Since the January 2011 Revolution, the United States has allocated over ê35 million in assistance to the Ministry of Interior, with plans to provide at least an additional ê14 million in the coming year,” the Ambassador indicated.
The ceremony for the donation of equipment was also attended by Minister Delegate in charge of Security Ridha Sfar and several senior police and National Guard officials