TUNIS - Canada on Saturday announced the start of a security pact with Tunisia, initially for three years, to support the North African country in its fight against "terrorism".

The agreement was announced during a visit by Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion.

"The international community must support Tunisia in battling terrorism," Dion told reporters after meeting his Tunisian counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui.

"That is why I am announcing an investment of four million dollars over the next three years for Canada to have a security partnership with Tunisia."

"Our two governments will ensure that this assistance... is extremely effective in helping Tunisia out of this vicious circle where security is linked to the economy," Dion added.

He gave no further details. He also said that "when a country chooses democracy, it will always have Canada's support".

Tunisia has managed the political transition to democracy since its 2011 revolution, but the economy is still struggling.

It has also had to confront a rise in extremist Islam and the growth of a jihadist movement responsible for killing dozens of soldiers, police and civilians including 59 foreign tourists.

Over the past few months, several countries including the United States, France and Britain have also proposed strengthening security cooperation with Tunisia.