Tunisia's Marzouki calls for national unity amid rising tensions
Iran Press TV
Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:18PM GMT
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has called on all political parties and figures to close ranks amid mounting tensions between the supporters and opponents of the government.
Marzouki made the call for national unity in a televised speech late on Monday, following the grizzly killing of Tunisian soldiers near the Algerian border, where the army was tracking al-Qaeda-linked militants.
“Tunisia is targeted in its political regime, in its lifestyle, in its religion, in its moderate Islam," said the president, whose office announced a three-day national mourning and described the incident as atrocious.
“If we want to face up to this danger we have to face up to it united," he said. "I call on the political class to return to dialogue because the country, society, is under threat," he urged.
Earlier in the day, eight soldiers were found dead with their throats slit after they were ambushed by an armed group in Mount Chaambi - southwest of the capital, Tunis.
The incident triggered protests in the nearby eastern city of Kasserine, where demonstrators stormed into the local office of the ruling Ennahda party overnight.
The attack came despite Marzouki’s call for national unity and Prime Minister Ali Larayedh’s earlier announcement of a general election on December 17.
The vote appears to be aimed at appeasing public anger after last week's assassination of prominent opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi, which sparked anti-government sentiments in the North African nation.
Amid mounting pressure on the government to step down, Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said on Tuesday he was ready to resign.
He called for the formation of a salvation government or national unity government to help Tunisia out of the ongoing impasse.
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