The event was organized by the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies (ITES) and political weekly publication named Realites. The forum was attended by high-level Tunisian politicians and leading experts from the US and major EU countries. The opening ceremony and the first plenary meeting was attended by the Minister of Defense of Tunisia Mr. Farhat Horchani, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation Mr. Mohamed Abdelkefi, Patrice Bergamini, EU Ambassador to Tunisia, Henrik Mayer, representative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Tunisia, Hatem Ben Salem, Head of ITES, S. A. Nikolaev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in Tunisia.
The Conference covered a wide range of issues related to the geopolitical situation in the Mediterranean, the strategic role of Tunisia and the region, combating terrorism, relevant aspects of building new security architecture in the Middle East and North Africa.
Mr. I. Borovkov, Head of the Center of Complex Problems of RISS, spoke at the Conference. His report on the theme "The New Policy of Russia in the Mediterranean" evoked great interest and found the support of several foreign delegations. In the report, in particular, it was noted that the Mediterranean region has always played a big role for Russia from the point of view of ensuring its national security. It was emphasized that in the new version of the Maritime Doctrine of Russia, approved by the RF President V. V. Putin in 2015, the Mediterranean is named as one of the main regional trends of the National Maritime Policy. The Policy is based on the goal of turning the region into a zone of military-political stability and good-neighborliness.
Great attention in the speech was devoted to the importance of the Mediterranean region for the promotion of the economic interests of the Russian Federation, activation of fight against terrorism in the region. I. Borovkov noted that Russia does not take into account confessional differences in building cooperation with the countries of the region and maintains relations with many States, where moderate Islamists are in power, present in the national governments and parliaments.
On the sidelines of the forum a meeting was held between the RISS delegation and the Director of the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies. The Head of the ITES, Hatem Ben Salem, expressed his gratitude to the leadership of RISS for participation in this important and momentous event in Tunisia and noted the success in establishing an effective bilateral cooperation between the two academic institutions to provide the highest authorities of their countries with expert assessments, recommendations, and analytical materials. The meeting has revealed the mutual desire of the parties to deepen the scientific ties between the Russian and Tunisian experts on a wide range of security issues, fighting terrorism, strengthening democratic institutions, determining the optimal place of religious structures in the society. This meeting was attended by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in Tunisia Mr. S. A. Nikolaev.