Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Kerry praises progress in Tunisia

18 February 2014, 20:32

Tunis - US Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Tunisia on Tuesday to praise democratic progress in the country where the Arab Spring began and discuss the threat of Islamist militants there.

After a crisis last year brought on by the killing of two opposition leaders, Tunisia's transition got back on track when it adopted a new constitution and the ruling Islamists stepped aside for a caretaker administration to govern until elections.

Kerry's visit was to highlight progress made since the 2011 uprising that brought down autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali as well as the compromises new Tunisian leaders, unlike Egyptian and Libyan counterparts, have made, US officials said.

"We are very impressed by the steps that you have been taking, by the rational thoughtful approach to the transition," Kerry said, according to a pool report by a US reporter, after meeting Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki.

The new constitution and steps to full democracy have been praised as a model in a region still widely unstable since popular revolts in 2011 that ousted long-standing rulers in Egypt, Yemen and Libya.

A senior US official told reporters as Kerry flew to Tunis that Washington applauded Tunisia's "demonstrated willingness not to take power, and hold on to it, and see it as a zero sum game, but to find some degree of compromise."

Egypt's military last year ousted its democratically elected Islamist president after a spate of mass protests against his rule. Libya is floundering in disorder with its weak central government unable to impose its authority on rival political factions and brigades of former rebels.

Kerry was also likely to address the many challenges still facing Tunisia, among them persistent violence by Islamist militants whose leader has pledged allegiance to al Qaeda's North African wing, officials said.

During meetings with the Tunisian president and prime minister on Tuesday, Kerry planned to urge the government to do more to arrest and prosecute those responsible for a 2012 attack on the US embassy in Tunis.

Storming of embassy

Tunisian security forces have been battling militants from the banned Islamist movement Ansar al-Sharia, one of the radical groups to emerge after Ben Ali's fall.

Ansar al-Sharia was blamed for inciting the storming of the US embassy in Tunis on 14 September, 2012 and has since been listed by Washington as a terrorist organisation, with ties to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Kerry's visit to Tunisia is the first by a US secretary of state since that incident, which occurred three days after an attack on a US diplomatic mission in Benghazi in Libya killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.

While violence from Islamist militants is sporadic in Tunisia, which relies heavily on European tourism, militants have been using the chaos in neighbouring Libya to get access to arms and training across the porous border.

In the first such attack in a decade in Tunisia, a suicide bomber late last year tried to target a hotel in a popular tourist resort near Tunis, killing only himself in the attack.

Earlier this month, Tunisian police killed seven Islamist militants, including a commander wanted for the assassination of the two opposition leaders, after a clash outside Tunis where the armed group stashed arms and suicide bomb belts.

The small North African country has also appealed for help in building up its economy after its political crisis. International lenders are keen for Tunis to institute more reforms to curb public spending and cut its budget deficit.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...