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Caid Essebsi: Government mission, making Tunisia reach safe heaven till Constituent Assembly election 

Published the:  07/03/2011

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March 7, 2011 - TAP - Prime Minister in the Interim government Béji Caid Essebsi said continued action to further improve the security situation, which has already registered some amelioration, is part of the Government's priorities in the coming period, insofar as, he said, security and stability remain the cornerstone to carry on economic activity and development effort.
During a news conference held, on Monday afternoon, in Carthage after the announcement of the new line-up of the interim government to shed light on the outlines of the coming stage, Mr. Béji Caid Essebsi said factors of continuity and efficiency have been taken into consideration in choosing new members of the Government from which five ministers and two Secretaries of States had resigned.
He said he sought to replace ministers who left the government by secretaries of state of the same departments, so that they carry on processing files submitted to them, insofar as this government, he added, is essentially, a "Caretaker Government," underlining that the mission of the government is to make Tunisia reach safe heaven, on July 24, 2011, the day of the election of the National Constituent Assembly.
Mr. Caid Essebsi stressed the role falling on the media during this phase, expressing hope that the government will receive the needed understanding and co-operation from the media to support it in achieving its objectives.
Answering a question on reasons that led him not to dedicate a ministry to information, the prime minister said experience has clearly shown the restrictions imposed on this sector, each time an official is appointed at the head of this department, adding, in this regard:" we want a free, transparent and objective press."
About the absence of political parties representatives in the new government line-up, Mr. Caid Essebsi said party leaders "have preferred to withdraw from the government, given the incompatibility of candidacy for the Constituent Assembly with presence in the government, to ensure that the next elections be fully credible.
Regarding the situation in Libya, the prime minister underlined the long-standing and fraternal relations between the Tunisian and Libyan peoples, stressing their common destiny, more particularly during times of tension and crises and during colonisation.
Answering a question on sanctions against elements of the state security apparatus involved in acts of torture, Mr. Béji Caid Essebsi said each officer whose involvement in or perpetration of abuses or crimes will be proved, will be punished, adding that he "does not prefer collective punishment."
Answering a set of other questions, The prime minister said that the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) is a prestigious national organisation which had contributed to the country's liberation and building of the modern state and its assistance and support for the government's efforts will always be welcome.
He added that the judiciary is independent and that the government will spare no efforts to create necessary conditions for the reinforcement of its independence.
He said, in conclusion, that sanctions against key figures of the ousted regime, first and foremost Ben Ali and members of his family, will be examined in the next Cabinet meeting, underlining that he will do everything possible to be " equal to the confidence of those who staged the Kasbah sit-in."