Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (C) attends the groundbreaking ceremony of the new building for Tunisian diplomatic academy with other officials in Tunis, Tunisia, on May 3, 2019. Beji Caid Essebsi on Friday spoke highly of the Chinese efforts in helping with the construction of the new building for Tunisian diplomatic academy. (Xinhua/Adele Ezzine)
TUNIS, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi on Friday spoke highly of the Chinese efforts in helping with the construction of the new building for Tunisian diplomatic academy.
"China's help in the construction of the building is a symbol of friendship between the Chinese and Tunisian people, and is of significance to the future development of bilateral relationship," said the president.
Essebsi made the remarks during the building's groundbreaking ceremony on May 3, which is the Diplomatic Day in Tunisia.
Chinese Ambassador to Tunisia Wang Wenbin and officials from the Tunisian government attended the ceremony.
The Tunisian diplomatic academy is affiliated with the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, the 22-year-old institution is still operated in rented offices in the capital Tunis with simple facilities. In February 2018, China and Tunisia inked an agreement to construct a new building for the academy.
Wang said the diplomatic academy project is a vivid example of Sino-Tunisian cooperation.
"Several generations of Tunisian diplomats have dreamed of the new building, and China is willing to work with Tunisia to implement this project," Wang said.
"With deep trust in China, Tunisia chooses China to help them construct the building under the Belt and Road Initiative's framework, among several other countries' options," Wang added.
Tunisian Foreign Minister Khamaies Jhinaoui said the project groundbreaking is a major event in bilateral relations, showing mutual trust and testifying the high level of cooperation between the two countries.
Jhinaoui expressed appreciation for China for its support to help Tunisia construct the building, saying that "Tunisia is willing to deepen pragmatic cooperation with China in various fields."
The new building for Tunisian diplomatic academy, with its design on display at the ceremony, will be built near the headquarters of the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It will have five floors and an underground car park.
The complex, covering an area of two hectares, will upgrade the academy's teaching environment and provide venues for diplomatic activities.
Chen Sichang, vice president of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and responsible for this project construction, said that "the local construction market in Tunisia is relatively mature, and we will use local resources in cooperation with local enterprises as much as possible."
"We have seen the final design of the building, which combines the Chinese design with local Tunisian elements," said Chen. "After two years of construction, we are confident that the building will become a landmark in Tunisia."
Wang said this project is a training school not only for the Tunisian diplomats, but also for diplomats from all African and Arab countries.
"Tunisia also hopes the two countries will cooperate in the future teaching and make good use of such platform to further expand Sino-Tunisian friendship and relations, which is of great significance to bilateral relations," added Wang.