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ForMin Aurescu, Tunisian counterpart Erray discuss education, tourism co-operation in phone conversation

Bogdan Aurescu

Romania's Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu on Wednesday had a telephone conversation with his Tunisian counterpart Noureddine Erray, initiated by the latter to dicusss education and tourism co-operation.

Aurescu invited Erray to Romania this autumn, as far as conditions allow, in order to deepen the relationship between Romania and Tunisia, as well as to identify its development prospects, with Erray gladly accepting the invitation, according to a press statement released by the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE).

The two ministers agreed that part of the visit, the 15th meeting of the Romanian-Tunisian Joint Intergovernmental Commission should be organised, exploring the possibility of a bilateral business forum that would encourage direct contacts between business people from the two countries.

The two ministers also agreed that a dynamic dialogue should be maintained going forward, both at political and sectoral level, especially in the economic and trade areas and, in particular, on educational, scientific and cultural exchanges, with Erray emphasising a special interest of young Tunisians in studying in Romania.

Aurescu encouraged academic mobility and highlighted that Romania still has the full openness to receive Tunisian students in its undergraduate and graduate system, as they have a good educational and professional qualification. He also appreciated the professional quality of Tunisian citizens who have received Eugen Ionescu scholarships under a programme for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from French-speaking countries, especially Africa, carried out since 2007 by the Romanian government through MAE, with the support from the University Agency of La Francophonie.

The conversation between the two officials also led to a review of the measures taken by both countries nationwide in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two ministers welcomed co-operation between Bucharest and Tunis officials in cases of repatriation or other special situations in which Romanian and Tunisian citizens found themselves, in the context of the current crisis. Aurescu assured his Tunisian counterpart of Romania's continuing support for consular or emergency cases, highlighting the steps taken by Romania for the repatriation of over 150 Tunisian nationals. The Tunisian counterpart thanked for this significant gesture and provided support for similar procedures for Romanian citizens.

In the context of gradual coronavirus lockdown relaxation measures, Erray voiced hope that Tunisia will remain a favorite holiday destination of Romanian citizens and assured that the Tunisian officials have developed a health protocol that will provide the necessary safety and protection.

At the same time, the two ministers agreed on maintaining an active dialogue on a multilateral level, with an important level of collaboration between Romania and Tunisia being that of La Francophonie.

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