Maghreban Union remains a strategic option for Tunisia, president says
Tunisia-Maghreb, Politics, 1/29/1999
President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, renewed on Thursday that the Arab Maghreb Union remains a strategic and irreversible option for his country.
Ben Ali made the statement during an official ceremony during which he received the greetings of heads of diplomatic missions accredited to Tunisia on the occasion of the new year.
He said his country will carry on earnestly and determinedly efforts to push forward the Maghreban union process and fulfil Maghreban peoples' aspirations to progress and prosperity.
The Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) that was set up in Marrakesh in 1989 and that musters Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and tunisia, is paralyzed due to strained relations between Morocco and Algeria over Algiers' direct involvement in the Sahara issue and due to Libya's criticism of the attitude adopted by the other UMA members in the Lockerbie crisis opposing Tripoli to western countries.
The materialization of stability and development in the region however requires security and entente, tensions defusing, and the settlement the soonest possible of existing problems, the Tunisian head of state said stressing in this respect the urgent need to lift the embargo decreed against the brotherly Libyan people.
President Ben Ali also spoke of the situation in the Middle East pointing out that the peace process co-sponsors, the European Union and the international community at large should persuade Israel to opt for peace. He further called for dismantling all mass destruction weapons to assure security in the Mideast.
Touching on the Gulf crisis, the Tunisian president said the settlement of the crisis lies in the resort to peaceful means and to international legality. He called for putting an end to the sufferings of the Iraqi people and to intensify international efforts to lift the embargo imposed on Iraq.
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