U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Tunisian Interim President Fouad Mebazaa at the presidential palace in the capital city of Tunis. The U.S. pledged to assist in the "democratic transition.", a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Tunisia condemns "repeated violations" of territorial integrity by Libya
TUNIS, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The Tunisian interim government reiterated "strong condemnation of the dangerous violations of its territorial integrity by Libyan forces" in a communique released Saturday, the official press agency TAP reported.
The condemnation came after some 80 mortar shells fired from Libya fell on the Tunisian side of the border near Dhehiba on Saturday, according to TAP.
The Tunisian authorities consider these violations as extremely dangerous for the Tunisian people and territorial security, the government said, stressing their negative consequences on the relations between the two countries.
In spite of the violations, Tunisia decided not to close the Dhehiba border point driven by its humanitarian commitment to provide shelter to the stranded Libyan nationals, the communique said.
Tunisia will take whatever measures it deems necessary to preserve its territorial integrity and the safety of its inhabitants and refugees "within the framework of international law," it said.
Over the past weeks, Libyan rockets have fallen inside Tunisia' s southern border, triggering panic among the local population.
Tunisian ex-minister loses rights post after coup remarks
(AFP)--TUNIS — Tunisia's former interior minister was on Saturday sacked as head of a key human rights body after controversial comments that an Islamist victory in forthcoming elections would spark a military coup.
Tunisia's interim President Foued Mebazaa issued a statement saying that Farhat Rajhi had been sacked as head of the High Commission for Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties (HCDHLF), the official TAP news agency reported.
The move came three days after Rajhi, in a video interview posted on Facebook, said preparations were underway for a military coup should the Islamist Ennahda (Renaissance) win the July 24 election.
"Since independence, political life has been dominated by the people of the Tunisian Sahel," such as former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled in January, he said.
Despite Ben Ali having been toppled from power these people are not ready to cede power, he argued.
"If the results of the forthcoming elections go against their interests, there will be a military coup."
On Friday, Rajhi tried to distance himself from his earlier comments.
"My statements were just purely hypothetical and not directed at anybody and I am not responsible for interpretations," he said.
But the same day the defence ministry issued a statement denouncing his allegations as representing "a great danger for the Tunisian people's revolution and for the current and future security of the country".
On Thursday and Friday, a few hundred demonstrators, many of them youths, took to the streets of Tunis in support of Rajhi, shouting slogans denouncing the interim administration running the country.
The interior ministry had to apologise Friday after police broke up the protests using tear gas, truncheons and iron bars.
The National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) and Paris-based media watchdog also denounced the police action: the SNJT said 15 local and international media professionals had been assaulted by the police.
Rajhi served briefly as interior minister under the interim administration from January 27, two weeks after Ben Ali's downfall.
Only days after his appointment, hundreds of police and supporters of Ben Ali stormed the interior ministry threatening to kill him.
As soon as he took office Rajhi had fired dozens of top officials in the interior ministry, a symbol of Ben Ali's repressive regime.
His plain-speaking in television appearances earned him the approval of many Tunisians, to judge from the response in Internet chatrooms and blogs.
His abolition in March of Tunisia's feared political police, who had rounded up thousands of political dissidents, was also popular.
But later the same month Mebazaa replaced him.