EU says Tunisia isn't out of the woods

Jan. 27, 2011 at 11:26 AM

BRUSSELS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- While Tunisia is commended for moving toward democracy, the country is only at the beginning of the transition process, a European official said.

Tunisia's interim government announced Wednesday an arrest warrant has been filed for former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia after a protest suicide sparked a revolution that brought down his government.

Stefan Fule, the European commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, said in a statement that Tunisia was lauded for its march toward democracy.

"But Tunisia is only at the beginning of its transformation," he said. "Tunisian authorities should do their utmost to build public trust and create the conditions for stability in this transitional period."

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she had a team assembled in Tunisia to start a weeklong assessment of the situation unfolding in the North African state.

"Human rights abuses were at the heart of the problems faced by the people of Tunisia," she said in a statement. "Therefore, human rights must be at the forefront of the solutions to those problems."

The interim government has promised free elections in six months.

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