Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has strongly condemned the killing of the leader of Tunisia’s Democratic Patriots Movement, Chokri Belaid. “We are deeply disturbed by the death of Chokri Belaid, a symbol of the Tunisian revolution who fought to assert the values of democracy and freedom. He was a human rights advocate and an icon of Tunisia’s democratic opposition. We wish to express our solidarity with the democratic forces and our concern over the actions of extremist and terrorist groups whose intention is to destabilise the democratic transition, in Tunisia as in other countries. We have every confidence in the Tunisian authorities’ determination to shed light on this episode and bring an end to these unacceptable episodes of violence”.
“Episodes of this kind”, continued Terzi, “cannot and must not in any way alter our faith in the democratic processes under way in Tunisia and in the other countries of the Arab Spring. The Italian government has since the outset supported, and will continue to support, democratic stabilisation in Tunisia, with which we signed a Strategic Partnership in May 2012, during President Napolitano’s visit to Tunis. The Italian Government also supports a strengthening of Tunisia’s relations, at both government and civil society level, with the European Union, including the framework of the 5+5 Dialogue. And we also support progressively closer relations between the countries of the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean”.