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Defence Minister receives two US Congress Members

Published the:  22/02/2011

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February 22, 2011 – TAP - National Defence Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi received on Monday US Congress Members Republican John McCain and Independent Joseph Lieberman, with attendance of the US Ambassador in Tunis.
Both sides reviewed bilateral relations and prospects of cooperation as part of the current situation in Tunisia and in light of the revolution the country lived through. The Minister outpointed the importance Tunisia attaches to reinforcing relations of cooperation between the two countries and its will to be a privileged partner of the US, especially as the US people have always been friends of Tunisia's and this friendship will certainly be boosted now that freedom, democracy and social justice will prevail in the country.
Speaking of the present situation in the country, the Defence Minister said Tunisia is living through a new and unique stage in its history, with the people's revolution which opened the way to building-up a democratic society to secure people's sovereignty and fulfil its ambitions.
He reviewed the decisions made by the Interim Government in matters of public liberties and the setting up of three National Commissions entrusted respectively with political reforms, investigation of corruption and embezzlement, and investigation of abuse during the recent uprising. He also spoke of the law on general amnesty and the possibility for parties and associations to get visas, as well as the freeing of political prisoners and the separation of the Party and the State.
On the other hand, the Minister said that Tunisia's armed forces were fulfilling their specific mission of protection and development of the country just as they contribute to UN peacekeeping operations and humanitarian actions in the World. They are now contributing to the preservation of law and order and the protection of citizens and public and private property, in addition to the preservation of government buildings in close coordination with security forces.
The Defence Minister went on saying that the mission of the armed forces consisted as well in protecting land and sea borders, stressing that the military units will return to their barracks as soon as security will be restored throughout the country.
Besides, he outpointed that the Tunisian people had praised the stand of the US Congress which had rapidly supported the Tunisian Revolution, insisting on the need to raise its members' awareness through setting up lobby backing Tunisia, to enable the country to fulfill the objectives of the Revolution and provide all conditions of success for the democratic transition, through free and transparent elections.
The two US Congressmen hailed for their part the Tunisian People's Revolution and its avant-garde values and principles which have found an echo in all countries of the world. They said that the Congress tribute to the Tunisian Revolution had been sincere and mirrored the deep friendship between the two countries.
They praised as well the fidelity of the National Army to the principles of the Republic and their strong patriotic sense in carrying out their mission during this delicate period, which made Tunisia's Revolution a model.
The two Congressmen also expressed the United States' readiness to provide Tunisia with military and economic support and contribute to the success of the country's democratic transition.
In a statement to TAP News Agency, Republican Senator John McCain expressed consideration for the major role played by Tunisia's Army in the peaceful transition to democracy. He affirmed that his talks with the Defence Minister had allowed to discuss numerous issues relating to the boosting of bilateral cooperation, especially in the military field.
Senator Joseph Lieberman affirmed in turn that Tunisia's Revolution was a constructive achievement, outlining in this respect that new democratic Tunisia is an example followed in the region and that the US will endeavour to support it by various means, through developing the historical relations between the two countries and the promotion of economic cooperation, notably through US investments and contribution to job creation.