News / Africa

US Sends Senior Envoy to Tunisia

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman  (file photo)
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +

The Obama administration has sent a senior envoy to Tunisia to underscore U.S. support for efforts there to transition from authoritarian rule to democracy. The United States is offering Tunisian authorities help in organizing promised elections.

The dispatch to Tunisia of Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman underscores U.S. interest in seeing a peaceful and democratic outcome to the political upheaval there that ousted President Zine Abidine Ben Ali.

Weeks of street protests and rioting drove Mr. Ben Ali, who had ruled the country for 22 years, into exile on January 14.

Unrest has continued with protestors demanding that holdovers from the previous government be purged from the new transitional administration.

Announcing the Feltman mission several hours after his departure for Tunis, State Department Spokesman P. J. Crowley said the assistant secretary will seek a "first hand view" of the situation and sound out the new authorities on how the United States can assist in building a stable democracy.

"We support the transition that is underway, and we hope that this transition will be  peaceful.  We understand that Tunisian civil society has questions about the nature of the government. Clearly after decades of mistrust, there are questions that the people continue to raise. The government is trying to be responsive. W e know that this is hard.  And we know that the government will at times have missteps along the way," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday telephoned Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi to commend the interim government’s call for elections within six months and initial steps to investigate corruption and past abuses.

Mr. Ghannouchi has held the post since 1999 and is himself the target of public protests from trade union and other factions pressing him to step aside.

Crowley said U.S. officials are encouraged by steps the interim government has taken to begin dialogue with civil society groups, release prisoners and ease media curbs.  But he said that a "lot of work" remains to be done.

He said part of Feltman’s mission will be to evaluate how the United States can support the electoral process in Tunisia, perhaps through technical assistance by U.S. non-governmental groups that have been active in democratization efforts elsewhere.

Feltman, a former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, is to have a second day of meetings in Tunis on Tuesday before returning to Washington.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid