At a ceremony on Thursday, August 28 attended by U.S. Ambassador Jake Walles, Minister of Defense Ghazi Jeribi, and Vice Admiral Mohamed Khamassi, the U.S. Embassy presented two new 44-foot patrol boats to the Tunisian Navy, highlighting the United States’ strong and growing strategic partnership with Tunisia.

These two vessels donated to the Tunisian Navy – valued at over two million dollars – are part of an ongoing program of assistance to the Tunisian Navy.  The United States previously donated five 25-foot boats in August 2013 and will provide seven additional 25-foot patrol boats within the next six months.  These new vessels will enable the Tunisian Navy to enhance the country’s maritime security in the face of growing concerns about terrorism in the region. At the same time, the boats will enable Tunisia to better police its exclusive economic zone and guarantee the flow of maritime traffic through this key waterway between North Africa and Europe.

The U.S. and Tunisia share the common objective of enhancing the operational effectiveness of the Tunisian armed forces in the fight against terrorism.  The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is developing a variety of ways to assist the Tunisian military accomplish this through the sharing of information, the expansion of training, and the supply of advanced equipment.  These modern patrol boats highlight the Embassy’s work with the Tunisian Navy, but the U.S. continues to work with the Army and the Air Force as well.  Through joint efforts by the three services, combined with those of the Ministry of Interior’s security forces and the country’s international partners, Tunisia can achieve the level of security that its citizens demand and that will be required to conduct successful elections this fall.

As a longstanding partner of Tunisia, the United States is pleased to support these efforts and help Tunisia on its pathway to a secure, democratic, and prosperous future.