Alan Goulty

Ambassador to Tunisia

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Friday 05 September, 2008

A new beginning……

I must apologise to regular readers for the interruption in postings over the summer, due partly to my own absence from Tunis and partly to the setting up of a new platform for FCO bloggers. As is the way of new IT projects, this has taken longer than we had hoped.  But it is now operational and has the new facility of enabling you to post comments. So please feel free to do so and I hope we can generate a good discussion of current policy issues.

The issue which has been preoccupying us at the embassy is the transfer to Cairo of responsibility for taking all decisions on visa applications which came into effect on 1 September. This is part of the streamlining and upgrading of visa services worldwide. Decision-making will become more consistent and costs will be kept under control. Applicants in Tunis will see little change. The procedure for submitting on-line applications and attending the embassy thereafter is not being changed. But the process will take longer – up to seven working days. It will therefore be very important that all applicants apply in good time before they wish to travel.We shall not be able to handle last minute applications or to accelerate the process in individual cases.

I congratulate them on meeting the target date for the new system, which is a key element in our change programme. I hope that all will go smoothly and we shall welcome any feedback.


I should like to take this opportunity to wish all colleagues and readers a blessed and peaceful month of prayer and reflection. Let us all, Muslims or non-Muslims, resolve to be tolerant and understanding of our differences and to devote more effort to our dialogue.

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We appreciate the upgrading of the visa service and we accept to wait up to fifteen days to allow the embassy to make a more consistent decision. However, we hope that we could follow up the procedure by internet. Best regards,

Posted by Mohamed Zied Sakka on September 16, 2008 at 06:36 PM CEST #

Excellence , cher Alan, je découvre votre blog et vous promet d'être un adepte de l'amitié tuniso-britannique mon but également est de contribuer à l'ouverture des individus et des peuples, par la compréhension et la tolérance mutuelles tous horizons : Nord-Sud, Est-Ouest, Orient-Occident...; en outre, j'aime l'humour anglais quand il s'accompagne d'humilité quand bien même il garde son humeur; un peu comme la cerise sur le gâteau ... à partager avec tous ses contemporains .

Posted by m ali kamoun on October 06, 2008 at 12:19 PM CEST #

Ambassador I been looking at your web log for a long time since early 2005/2006. I am glad that your back posting your messages. I know HMG & Tunisia have warm relations with each other. I share your sentiments that indeed on new beginning. I hope HMA meetings of North African countries went will. One point I am aware of, Tunisia Human Rights is getting better I am glad of that. I still have my concerns regarding human rights activists being imprisonment which Human Rights Watch has reported. I think you should be aware FCO has new Ministers, today I saw them in action at FCO Questions at House of Commons on BBC Parliament TV. The great thing have a elected government, we people have they say and we the people can change our government every 4 years, which many people on earth wish they had this type of government. Ambassador Goulty keep up the good work, I hope you share with us who wins Embassies football team in Tunisia.

Posted by Mr. Madar on October 08, 2008 at 03:08 AM CEST #

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