Tunisia says president to announce more steps that will reassure its partners

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FILE PHOTO: Tunisia's new government swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis

TUNIS – Tunisia’s foreign minister told the United States on Wednesday that President Kais Saied would take more steps to reassure its international partners after he seized near total control of the country in July.

During a meeting with State Department official Yael Lempert, Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi stressed the importance of the United States continuing to support the North African country.

The United States has been important to Tunisia since its 2011 revolution in providing security assistance and working with other major donors to support public finances.

Under rules Saied announced last month when he swept aside much of the constitution in moves critics called a coup, the new Cabinet will ultimately answer to him rather than Prime Minister Najla Bouden.

Saied is under international pressure to announce a clear road map for a return to constitutional politics. He announced a new government this month but gave no indication he was ready to relinquish control.

His intervention followed years of economic stagnation and political paralysis but has cast into doubt the democratic gains made by Tunisians during the revolution that triggered the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Peter Cooney)