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Prime Minister Caid Essebsi meets with Higher Authority for Achievement of Revolution Objectives 

Published the:  05/04/2011

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April 5, 2011 - TAP  - The security situation, revitalization of the national economy, employment and balance among the regions were central points of the debate held on Tuesday in Bardo between Interim Prime Minister Béji Caid Essebsi and members of the Higher Authority for Achievement of Revolution Objectives, Political Reform and Democratic Transition.
The latter urged the Interim Government to place security and balance among the regions on top of its priorities, given the importance of these issues in realizing the Revolution's targets.
They called on the Government to hold "bosses" of the Ben Ali regime to account for what they had done and review the appointment of some officials, including the present Interior Minister.
Emphasis was placed on the importance of the independence of the judicial power and freedom of press as guarantors of the freedom and fairness of next July 24 elections.
Several members expressed satisfaction at the Interim Government's pledge to respect this date.
Addressing the country's foreign policy, members of the Authority stressed the need to re-design the orientations and constants that govern the country's diplomacy, particularly vis-à-vis neighbouring countries.
They also called on the Interim PM to take urgent and deterring measures against utilization of mosques for political purposes, warning against the forces of regression that advocate to keep women at home.
One of the representatives of associations and organizations said that the relationship between people and the Interim Government is characterized by a "crisis of confidence."
He referred, in this regard, to the implementation of the decree-law on general amnesty, wondering about the steps taken by the Interim Government to re-integrate people who had been victimized by the old regime into their jobs.
Several speakers also addressed the file of the Revolution martyrs and their families, especially the investigations on snipers and policemen who had fired shots on demonstrators.
Answering the attendees, Interim PM Béji Caïd Essebsi described the country's situation as a stifling one, to the extent that the context is characterized by a growth rate swinging between zero and 1%, which, he said, is a constraint on the employment program.
The Prime Minister reminded that the Interim Government had adopted a short-range economic and social program which mainly revolves around consolidation of employment, support and financing of economic enterprises, regional development and social action, to mitigate worsening of the general situation in the country.
He also recalled that the State budget will be reviewed next May and that the largest share of these resources would be dedicated to developing the regions and improving the situation in the underprivileged areas.
He announced the Interim Government's plan to hire 60,000 job-seekers, including 20,000 in public sector, and an equal number in the private sector, and as many as part of the self-employment projects.
Mr. Caïd Essebsi voiced fear about the economic situation marked by closing of several enterprises, rising unemployment rate, continuing wave of protest and sit-ins.
He urged the political forces, in first place of which the political parties, to shoulder their responsibility in enlightening and directing the public opinion, and calling on protesters not to continue on the same path.
The Interim PM called to place the nation's higher interest above all other considerations, explaining that the appointment of the new Interior Minister was a decision that meets security concerns.
"The general interest dictates the nomination of certain people for specific positions," he said, adding that dismissing or keeping of Mr. Essid hinges on the general interest.
He said that the investigations on some people involved in administrative and economic corruption during the past period are going on.
Tunisia's foreign policy abides by rules and traditions, and respect of international legality, Mr. Caid Essebsi pointed out, highlighting the recent efforts exerted by the Tunisian diplomacy on several files, notably the agreement arrived at with Italy on regularization of 22,000 Tunisian nationals' stay in that country. "It is a special agreement," he said.
On the victims of the Revolution, he said that justice collected testimonies of 200 youths from Thala, Kasserine governorate, and that efforts are pursued to reveal the identity of those criminals.
For his part, Mr. Yadh Ben Achour, Chairman of the Higher Authority, pointed out that the debate materializes the notion of political openness in the country, a concept which represents one of the key objectives of the January 14 Revolution.