2 April 2014

Tunisia Faring Better After Three Years of Uncertainty, Jomaa Says At Columbia University

New York, — Tunisia is faring better after three years of sociopolitical unrest, interim Premier Mehdi Jomaa reassured professors, researchers and students at Columbia University, New York.

Lecturing in English, on Tuesday evening, on Tunisia's state of affairs, Jomaa briefed the massed audience about the country's priorities for what remains of the transition stage.

Restoring the State's authority, valuing work and securing law supremacy and abidance are the top priorities, Jomaa underlined.

Mid-term solutions to economic problems are highly needed through the rationalisation of the expenditure incurred by the Compensation Fund, an overhaul of the banking system and a national dialogue.

With regard to elections, the interim Prime Minister said the government is charged with providing the necessary conditions while the Independent Higher Authority for Elections is the only entitled to monitor the operating of the elections.

"We are working towards organising elections by the end of the year for the sake of a better visibility for everyone," he pointed out.

In another connection, Jomaa said Islamic parties and terrorism must not be mixed up. Terrorism "stands no chance in Tunisia" thanks to the tolerance and openness of Tunisians, he argued.

Tunisia was not ready to face up to terrorism at the outset but has managed over the last six months to downscale it and stabilise the political situation.

The Premier said he advocates the rule of law while noting that "the police have the task of maintaining public order not resorting to repression."

Besides, Mehdi Jomaa emphasised that his cabinet is against interference in the internal affairs of other countries such as Syria.

"Tunisia has no choice but to succeed," Professor at Columbia University Kamel Jedidi, who conducted the debate, stressed.

Tunisia is the first democracy in the Arab world owing to such assets as education and women's rights and thanks to Bourguiba's prospective vision.

Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi, Higher Education, Scientific Research and Information and Communication Technology Minister Taoufik Jelassi and Tunisia's Ambassador to the United Nations Khaled Khiari attended the lecture.

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