20 November 2012

Tunisia: U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing: Tunisia & Mali

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QUESTION: Yeah. I'm Jennifer Griffin with Fox News.

MS. NULAND: Oh. Hi, Jennifer.

QUESTION: Hi, Toria. Toria, I was wondering if you had any comment on the two Tunisian attackers of the U.S. Embassy in Tunis who died in custody in a Tunisian prison in the last day or so, and whether there's any concern that's been expressed by the State Department to the Tunisian government, and whether the FBI actually got access to the Tunisian that was held in Tunis for the Benghazi attack.

MS. NULAND: With regard to whether the FBI got access, I'm going to send you to them, obviously. I think I'm going to have to send you to the Tunisians on the circumstances surrounding the incarceration of those two individuals. I don't think I have anything today.

QUESTION: Has any concern been expressed from the State Department to Tunisia - to the Tunisian government about that?

MS. NULAND: Let me take that, Jennifer, and see if there's anything we have to share. I, frankly, don't have anything on it today.

Please.

QUESTION: Mali.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Some fierce fighting has been taking place during the last 48 hours between the Tuareg rebels and the Islamist groups in an area not far away from Niger. Are you concerned that the crisis in Mali will spill over to Niger, for example?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think you know that we've been concerned that the longer these tensions go on and the more extremists begin to exploit the difficulties in Mali and the lack of good governance, the more we could see the danger of spillover into regional countries. You know that we've been working to support the development of a stronger ECOWAS plan that they can bring back to the Security Council, how they can provide greater security, both in Bamako and supporting Malian forces.

But we also are looking for a political outreach effort by the government to address the underlying grievances of the Tuaregs and peel them off of these extremist elements. So it's something that we're very much working on. As you know, the Secretary was in Algeria not too long ago, working with the Algerians on how we can blunt potential spillover, et cetera.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:21 p.m.)

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