The US Embassy in Tunisia has transferred night vision equipment worth nearly $2 million to the Tunisian Armed Forces, highlighting the strong and growing strategic partnership between the United States and Tunisia.
The equipment was handed over at a ceremony on Friday, November 7, attended by US Ambassador Jake Walles, Minister of Defense Ghazi Jeribi, and Brigadier General Bechir Bedoui. At the request of Prime Minister Joma’a and Minister Jeribi, the US government, utilizing special authorities, accelerated delivery of the night vision devices by nearly six months and facilitated $600 000 in savings for the Tunisian government. Expedited delivery was made possible through close coordination between the U.S. Embassy and the Ministry of Defence, and through the use of Tunisia’s C-130J Hercules, the US Embassy said.
“The acquisition of these night vision devices further enhances the existing capability of the Tunisian Army, Air Force and Navy to conduct operations during hours of limited visibility against terrorist organizations determined to destabilize Tunisia,” the Embassy said.
“The security relationship between the United States and Tunisia continues to grow, in large part due to the common objective they share of enhancing the operational effectiveness of the Tunisian Armed Forces in the fight against terrorism. The acquisition of this equipment serves as an indication of that strong and longstanding relationship between the two countries.”
The US has donated a substantial amount of military equipment to Tunisia, such as two 13.5 metre patrol boats delivered in August, and which will be followed by seven additional 7.6 metre patrol boats in the next few months. The United States previously donated five 7.6 metre boats in August 2013.
In July the United States announced it was giving Tunisia $60 million worth of military aid to help it fight Islamist militants who are threatening the country’s nascent democracy, with some of the money to go to equipment to detect improvised explosive devices, new boats and training.
In August this year the US donated ten tonnes of protective equipment including helmets, shields and bullet proof vests to equip the special counter-terrorism units of the Tunisian military and police as they battle a growing local and regional terrorist threat.