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Clinton Encourages Economic Reforms in Tunisia

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is presented flowers as she tours the Red Crescent with US Ambassador to Tunisia Gordon Grey, left, in Tunis, March, 17, 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a visit to Tunisia, is urging the country's interim government to enact reforms that encourage economic development.

Clinton arrived in Tunis late Wednesday after wrapping up a two-day visit to Egypt, where she also encouraged leaders to pursue democratic reforms. She is the most senior U.S. official to visit Tunisia since an anti-government revolt ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January.

The revolt - which sparked similar uprisings in other countries of the Middle East and North Africa - was partly spurred by Tunisia's high unemployment.

During a visit to a Tunisian Red Crescent office, Clinton said Tunisia's revolution created hopes that now must be translated into results through economic and political reform.

Clinton is meeting with civic leaders, activists and officials, including interim President Fouad Mebazaa.

Several hundred Tunisians demonstrated against Clinton's visit before her arrival Wednesday, saying they oppose what they consider foreign intervention in their country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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