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Libya expresses regret while Kuwait 'respects' Tunisian choice

Libya's Gaddafi said he regrets Ben Ali's fall while Kuwait expresses its respect for the Tunisian people's choice

AFP, Sunday 16 Jan 2011
Protesters chant slogans against President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunis, Friday, 14 January 2011. (AP)
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The Kuwait government has expressed respect for the Tunisian people's choice after the departure of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as opposition MPs hailed the event as a victory for freedom.

"The state of Kuwait respects the choices of the brotherly people of Tunisia ... and expresses hope that security and stability will be restored," Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah said in a statement late Saturday.

The statement cited by the official KUNA news agency also hoped "that the Tunisian people will overcome the delicate situation to achieve stability and arrive at a national consensus to preserve superior national interests and avert chaos."

Opposition MPs meanwhile hailed the Tunisian events as a victory for freedom and warned that all oppressive regimes will meet the same fate.

"I salute the courage of the Tunisian people ... All regimes that oppress their peoples and fight Arab and Islamic identity will meet the same fate," Islamist MP Waleed al-Tabtabai said.

Veteran MP and three-time former speaker Ahmad Al-Saadun said the ousting of Ben Ali is a lesson for all tyrants.

"The revolt of Tunisian people against tyranny led to the escape of the biggest tyrant and enemy of freedom and one of the allies of (former Iraqi dictator) Saddam Hussein," Saadun said.

"This will be a lesson for all the peoples of the region," he said.

"The brave Tunisian people have set a principled example and sent dozens of messages to Arab regimes," Islamist MP Faisal Al-Muslim said.

Libyan leader Moamar Kadhafi Saturday on the other hand said he regretted the fall of Tunisia's authoritarian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali which had left the country in "chaos with no end in sight."

"You have suffered a great loss... There is none better than Zine (Ben Ali) to govern Tunisia," he said in a speech broadcast on state radio and television.

"I do not only hope that he stays until 2014, but for life," he said, stressing that he considered Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia on Friday, still to be the "legal president of Tunisia under the constitution."

"He did good things for Tunisia," he said, hailing his handling of the country's economy.

"Tunisia, a developed country that is a tourist destination, is becoming prey to hooded gangs, to thefts and fire," he said, adding that Tunisia was "in chaos with no end in sight."

And he said the Tunisian people were the "victims of lies" broadcast on the Internet which had played a large part in Ben Ali's ouster.

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