The defense of Tunisia is based on selective military duty with an initial service of 12 months. It comprises (2008) 35,000 men and consists of 3 mechanized brigades, 1 desert brigade, 25 smaller fighter ships, 27 fighter aircraft and 6 combat helicopters. Semi-military security forces amount to 12,000 men. The material is semi-modern and of Western origin. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that TUN stands for Tunisia.
Defense costs in 1985–2006 decreased from 5.0% to 4.2% of GDP. Tunisia participates in UN peacekeeping operations in Congo (Kinshasa) and with observers in three countries.
Tunisia has selective military service with 12 months military service. The total force numbers for Tunisia’s armed forces are 35,800 active personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, 12,000 semi-military troops are arriving in the National Guard.
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The army has a workforce of 27,000 active personnel, including 22,000 conscripts. Materials include 84 tanks of the type M60, 48 light tanks category Kürassier, 60 reconnaissance vehicles, 350 armored personnel carriers and 35 armored fighters. In addition, the army has heavy artillery, short range air defense missiles and light air defense artillery.
The Air Force has a workforce of 4,000 active personnel. Material comprising 11 fighters of a F-5 Tiger II, three attack aircraft of the type MB-326, 18 transport, 30 trainers (nine L-59 Albatros, which also can be used as light attack aircraft), and 84 helicopters.
The Navy has a workforce of about 4800 active personnel. The fleet comprises 33 patrol vessels, and seven auxiliary vessels.
In 2018, Tunisia participated in UN operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) with 11 personnel and four observers, and in Mali (MINUSMA) with four personnel and one observer.
Tunisia is a member of the United Nations and the UN’s special organizations, the World Bank, and by the way, among others, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the African Union and the Arab League. Relations with the Arab countries are a high priority, especially relations with neighboring countries Libya and Algeria. At the same time, Tunisia has emphasized relations with the EU and the European Mediterranean countries France, Spain and Italy. The country has an association agreement with the EU from 1995 that aims, among other things, to gradually liberalize the trade relationship. Tunisia has joined the cooperation in the Union for the Mediterranean, which was established on French initiative in 2008.
The political upheavals in 2011 could have an impact on Tunisia’s foreign policy and international relations. This applies in particular to areas that contribute to economic growth and reduced unemployment (export markets, tourism, foreign investment and foreign exchange issues). Under President Ben Ali, the country has kept a low (“cautious”) foreign policy profile in the interests of internal stability and economic development. The country has often acted as a mediator in international conflicts.
Economic relations with Norway are modest. Apart from some Norwegian tourists, both business establishments and trade have been very limited. The trade relationship is regulated by the 2005 EFTA-Tunisia agreement.
Tunisia is represented in Norway at its embassy in Oslo, while Norway since 2009 has been represented in Tunisia at its embassy in Algeria.