Obama invites new Tunisian prime minister to D.C.

President Obama called the Tunisian prime minister on Monday to congratulate him on the country’s new constitution and invited him to Washington later this year.

Obama phoned Mehdi Jomaa and expressed he wanted to build America’s relationship with Tunisia, the White House announced Monday evening. 

“The President commended the efforts of all of Tunisia’s parties to work together to secure the gains made since the start of Tunisia’s revolution, which inspired people around the world. The President invited the Prime Minister to visit Washington later this year to continue to build the U.S.-Tunisian relationship,” the White House said. 

In 2011, Tunisia was the first country in the North Africa and Middle East region to hold protests, and the country eventually overthrew its longtime president. The revolt in the country has been cited as the start of the Arab Spring, and the massive protests in Egypt followed. 

Obama invited Jomaa to visit Washington later this year, and said America will continue to be Tunisia’s partner to support “its democratic transition, to bolster security, and to promote a more peaceful and prosperous future.”

The Tunisian government recently ratified a new democratic constitution and installed an independent government. Political leaders there selected Jomaa to be prime minister in December, who will serve at least until elections this year.