US signs ten-year military cooperation with Tunisia

US Wednesday signed a ten-year military cooperation agreement with Tunisia to train and improve the abilities of Tunisian soldiers and help the North African country respond to security threats.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper inked the deal with his Tunisian counterpart, Brahim Bertagi, during his visit to Tunis, first leg of the US official’s Maghreb tour.

The long-term strategic commitment consolidates and encourages military cooperation based primarily on the provision of anti-terrorist equipment and military training.

The US will also train Tunisian army forces on the maintenance of US military hardware and equipment sold or donated to Tunisia.

The US is a strategic partner for Tunisian in many areas. It has since 2011, invested more $1 billion in Tunisia’s secret services. The North African country has witnessed a surge in threats since 2011 with terrorist incursions from Algeria and Libya. Several terror attacks, claimed by the Islamic state group (ISIS) in March and June 2015, killed more than 70 people mostly foreign tourists.

The US Defense Secretary is expected this Thursday in Algeria. He will win up his Maghreb tour in Morocco on Friday.

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