Tunisia – killing of opposition politician Chokri Belaid
OSLO, Norway, February 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “I condemn the killing of Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid. Mr Belaid was one of the most outspoken opposition politicians in Tunisia, and was particularly concerned about freedom of expression,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
Chokri Belaid was a leader of the leftist Popular Front coalition in Tunisia. His murder is part of a recent trend in which we are seeing an increasing use of violence in Tunisia.
“The murder of Mr Belaid is a brutal attack on tolerance and respect for human rights, two of the most essential elements for building democracy in Tunisia,” Mr Eide said.
Mr Eide emphasised that Norway will urge the Tunisian authorities to bring those responsible for this killing to justice and to prosecute those responsible for other acts of political violence.
It is vital that all parties show restraint and refrain from violence during this difficult transition period for Tunisia. The Tunisian authorities have a particular responsibility in this respect.
The Republic of Tunisia is the smallest country in North Africa. It is a Maghreb country bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast and theMediterranean Sea to the north and east.
Tunisia is almost 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi) in area, with an estimated population of just under 10.7 million. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis located in the northeast. The south of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) of coastline.
Tunisia has an association agreement with the European Union and is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab League, and the African Union. Tunisia has established close relations with France in particular, through economic cooperation, industrial modernization, and privatisation programs.