WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, on Wednesday met with members of the Tunisian-American community and released the following statement:

“It was great to meet virtually with the Tunisian-American community and hear directly from the diaspora about their concerns with President Saeid’s increasingly authoritarian posture,” said Murphy. “What’s happening in Tunisia right now is deeply troubling—especially because it was the one place where the Arab Spring stood as proof that democracy could succeed. The United States has both leverage and opportunity in front of us right now, and we must start signaling to President Saeid that U.S. dollars for his country are linked with democratic course correction.”

Last month, Murphy released a statement on the Tunisian President Saeid’s move to dissolve the Supreme Judicial Council. In December, Murphy joined the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) Executive Director Stephen McInerney to discuss U.S. policy towards Tunisia. Murphy’s remarks come on the heels of Tunisian President Kais Saied’s promise to hold votes on a new constitution and parliament next year. In September, Murphy led a congressional delegation to Tunisia where he met with President Kais Saied, representatives of civil society organizations, and members of parliament to express support for the Tunisian people’s goal of a democratic government. Murphy also authored an op-ed calling for the U.S. to reconsider our security assistance package to Tunisia following news that President Saied declared his intention to suspend parts of the constitution.