Kerry in surprise Tunisia trip to support democracy

Tunisia approved its new constitution last month, a landmark event in the birthplace of the Arab Spring

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Tunisia Tuesday on an unannounced trip, in a sign of support for the country where the Arab Spring was triggered three years ago, Agence France-Presse reported.

Kerry will meet “senior officials to discuss the progress made in Tunisia’s democratic transition,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

During his brief visit, Kerry will meet new Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa and President Moncef Marzouki for discussions and to show “continued U.S. support for the Tunisian people and government,” Psaki said.

“What is unique, or at least striking in particular about Tunisia, is the willingness of opposing sides to reach out and show some inclusiveness and cooperation”, a senior U.S. administration official said, asking not to be named.

“What’s positive and even inspiring in Tunisia is the demonstrated willingness not to take power and hold on to it,” he added, pointing to the new constitution adopted last month and the swearing in of a new technocratic interim government.

Last month, Tunisia signed into being its new constitution, a landmark event in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Tunisia’s adoption of a new constitution, saying it was a model to be followed by other countries seeking reform.

Tunisia “reached another historic milestone with the adoption today of the country’s new constitution,” Ban said in a statement last month, carried out by Martin Nesirky, his spokesman.

(With AFP)

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