7 February 2013

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

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Excerpt from the United States Department of State daily press briefing: 

QUESTION: Thank you. Tunisia?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: The situation is deteriorating in Tunisia. Could you give us your assessment of the political crisis there, and do you have any plan for your American citizens and American facilities in Tunisia in terms of security and safety?

MS. NULAND: I don't have anything to share on a change of posture or a notice to Americans. Obviously we are watching the situation, as we said yesterday. We again condemn the assassination of Chokri Belaid, but we remain hopeful that Tunisia can realize the aspirations that their people fought for. There is no place for violence in Tunisia's democracy. It won't resolve the issues that Tunisians face, and it's not an appropriate response to murder. It's only going to bring more violence.

So we welcome steps that Tunisians are taking to maintain dialogue among them about their political future. It's up to Tunisia's leaders to decide how to take the country forward. But we also encourage Tunisia's citizens, their political leaders, to continue to work together to find consensus so that the constitution can be completed quickly, to ensure that that constitution respects universal human rights and the will of the Tunisian people, and that they can develop a plan for early elections and determine a permanent government.

QUESTION: Do you regard the calling of a general strike for tomorrow as one of the kinds of steps that you're advocating? As you know, such a strike has been called for tomorrow.

MS. NULAND: Well, again, we're obviously not going to dictate the political path in Tunisia. In the case of public demonstrations of discontent, what we will say about Tunisia is the same as we would say anywhere in the world: that those expressing their discontent should do so peacefully and that security forces should be responsible and exercise restraint.

QUESTION: Victoria?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: A quick follow-up on just - Hizb Ennahda, the ruling party in Tunisia, was engaged in incitement against Chokri Belaid before his assassination. Are they in any way complicit?

MS. NULAND: Again, what we have said is that we encourage and expect, as the Tunisian people do, that the government will do a full investigation. I'm obviously not going to preempt that investigation here.

Goyal.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:43 p.m.)

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