UK pledges work with President-elect Essebsi to address challenges

Marwan Sultan in London, Monday 22 Dec 2014

The UK has pledged to work with Tunisia's new president president-elect Beji Caid Essebsi to face challenges and common interests

The UK has pledged to work with Tunisian president-elect Beji Caid Essebsi to face challenges and promote common interests.

Welcoming his election as new president of Tunisia, the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the election showed the “Tunisian people’s commitment to the democratic process.”

“The strong turnout for the presidential and legislative elections clearly demonstrates Tunisia’s wish for a representative and democratic government” Hammond said in a statement.

According to the Tunisian Election Commission, Essebsi beat incumbent president Mohamed Moncef Al-Marzouki with 55.68 percent of the vote against 44.32 percent in Sunday's run-off ballot.

“I congratulate Beji Caid Essebsi on his victory in Tunisia’s historic first democratic presidential election,” Hammond said.

The UK government has also pledged to assist in returning funds that might have been stolen by the officials of deposed dictator regime of Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali to the Tunisian people.

 “I look forward to working with President Essebsi and his government to address the challenges ahead and to promote our common interests in security, stability, trade and investment,” it added.

UK Trade and Investment figures show that total British exports to Tunisia in 2012 reached £160 million comparing to £202 million in 2010, while the British total imports from the North African country in 2012 reached £344 million comparing to £634 m in 2010.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is funding projects on torture prevention, freedom of expression and women’s rights.

The fund is provided by the Human Rights and Democracy Programme Fund, which is one of the FCO’s strategic programme funds aiming to “support projects around the world that helps progress the UK’s priorities in the areas of Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy.”

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