Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh announced a new government Friday aimed at calming tensions ahead of elections later this year.
Reports say the new government include independent politicians in the key posts of the Interior, Foreign, Defense and Justice Ministries.
Tunisian politicians formed a new government hoping it will defuse the country’s grave political crisis since it overthrew a decades-long dictatorship and triggered historic uprisings across the Middle East.
Deepest Political crisis engulfs Tunisia
Last month, the killing of an opposition leader sparked crisis and riots around the country and eventually resulting to the resignation of Prime minister Hamadi Jebali.
More violent protests were recorded against the Islamist-led government.
Reports say many have criticized the ruling party of not doing enough to counter extremist violence.
Hamadi Jebali, from the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, resigned after failing to push through his plan to get Tunisia out of its political deadlock.
US hails formation of the new government
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Secretary of John Kerry says the United States welcomes the establishment of a new government under the leadership of Prime Minister Laarayedh.
“We encourage Tunisia’s leaders to work together quickly to finalize a constitution that respects universal human rights, and to develop a plan for elections so Tunisians can vote on their country’s future.” – Secretary Kerry
He says announcing a fixed election date will provide clarity about the direction of Tunisia’s democratic transition and will help stabilize the political, security, and economic situation.
Secretary Kerry reiterates that US looks to the Government of Tunisia to foster an environment of justice and accountability that is conducive to a free and fair election process, including freedom of the press and access for domestic and international observers.
He underlines the United States remains a friend of the Tunisian people and will continue to support the transition to an enduring democracy in which the rights of all Tunisians are respected and protected.
US Helps Tunisia to Stabilize Its Own Economy
Recognizing that Tunisia is facing significant economic challenges after the revolution, the United States of America is helping Tunisia to stabilize its own economy.
The United States is a strong champion of Tunisia as a country with the potential to grow and succeed as a dynamic, job-creating economy, and as an important destination for foreign direct investment.
The United States is helping stabilize the Tunisian economy by extending a guarantee that will enable the central bank to issue bonds worth several hundred million dollars to international investors.
Both two governments signed a bilateral agreement on this guarantee operation just last week in Washington, he cited.
The United States provided a $100 million cash transfer to the Government of Tunisia for near-term debt relief, he announced.
The U.S. government is also keen on promoting small and medium-sized enterprise development through the use of Enterprise Funds.
As chair of the Group of Eight, the US government is working with its partners, regional countries, and international financial institutions to promote better economic governance.
US believes the transitions in Tunisia and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa region, are shaping the world.
The US governmet is using its available economic and diplomatic tools to help Tunisia’s challenges and unlock the flow of investment to and trade with Tunisia.
$100 million cash transfer for Tunisia
In March 2012, as an ardent supporter of Tunisia’s democratic progress and economic success, the United States announced that pending Congressional notification and review, the US government will provide a $100 million cash transfer to the Government of Tunisia for short-term fiscal relief.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the money will go directly to debt that Tunisia owes the World Bank and African Development Bank.
The initiative will allow the Government of Tunisia to instead use the money for its priority programs, accelerating economic growth and job creation.
The US support to Tunisia would be in addition to the sovereign loan guarantee agreement currently being negotiated between the United States and the Government of Tunisia.
The agreement will allow Tunisia to use $30 million from the United States to open up access to several hundred million dollars in new financing from international capital markets for the Tunisian government.
The United States ensures that democracy delivers for the Tunisian people, and to help Tunisian businesses either large and small become engines of job creation.
The U.S. government is an ardent supporter of Tunisia’s democratic progress and economic success, hoping it will set an example for other countries in the region that have overthrew autocratic rulers.
US has vowed to help the Tunisians as they pursue a more peaceful, prosperous and democratic future.
Since the Revolution, the United States has committed approximately $190 million in total assistance to support Tunisia’s transition which focused on technical and financial assistance to Tunisia’s economy and private sector.
In addition, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation is working to invest roughly $150 million in Tunisia. The United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation has exteded financial support in the form of direct loans, guarantees, and political risk insurance for the Tunisians.
Reports say the Tunisian transition has made great progress in the past year, culminating in the holding of peaceful and orderly elections in October 2011 that led to the establishment of a Constituent Assembly.
Tunisia overthrew Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in a people’s revolution in January 2011, which sparked the Arab Spring.