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BONINO IN TUNIS, ITALY AND EUROPE SUPPORT TRANSITION

ANSAMed - September 4, 2013

by Benedetta Guerrera

Tunisia has the will to overcome the rift between majority coalition and opposition which continues to block the country's political transition and to fuel social tensions which have led to imposing demonstrations over the past few weeks. This was the reasonably positive message which emerged from the first day of talks Monday in Tunis between Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino and local authorities. Italy's chief of diplomacy held on Monday 'encouraging' talks with the president of Tunisia's Constituent Assembly, Mustafa Ben Jafaar, and stressed the support provided by Italy and Europe in helping the country go through this transition process. Bonino said she is 'optimistic' about the country's chances to get out of a crisis which worsened yet again following the assassination of opposition lawmaker Mohamed Brahmi on July 25.

The situation at the moment is one of stalemate with the opposition asking the government to resign immediately and the majority coalition demanding that the new Constitution and electoral law be completed first. And Tunisians continue to demonstrate.

Thousands of people created a very long 'human chain' on Sunday night in Tunis to wrap up a week of protests.

Meanwhile positive signs could emerge from a meeting scheduled Tuesday between government coalition parties and the so-called 'bridge builders' - associations including unions which have been mediating between cabinet and opposition ever since the Constituent Assembly's work was halted on August 6.

On Tuesday Bonino is scheduled to meet President Moncef Marzouki, Premier Ali Larayedh and members of leading government parties, including Ennhada's chief, and of the opposition.

The visit to Tunisia had been planned for a while. Italy is the North African country's second-largest commercial partner with 750 companies on the territory. But the trip acquired new meaning as 'everything possible (needs to be done) to prevent scenarios we have seen in other countries'.





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