WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Tunisia’s ouster of former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali:
“Ten years ago today, the people of Tunisia cast off their authoritarian regime and began an inspiring journey towards freedom, democracy and the rule of law. In the ten years since, Tunisia has become a close and trusted security partner for the United States, as well as a major-non-NATO ally, while the people of Tunisia remain dedicated to representative democracy in a region where autocrats continue to quash such efforts.
“To be sure, Tunisia’s path to democracy has been arduous, as almost all worthwhile endeavors are. Continuing economic stagnation has led to widespread frustration among Tunisians while the ongoing chaos in neighboring Libya continues to pose a risk to Tunisian security. Throughout it all, however, the dedication of Tunisians to their country and their democracy has been nothing short of inspiring.
“From the first protests ten years ago, Tunisia has enjoyed bipartisan and bicameral support here in Congress for its security, prosperity and ever-closer relationship with the United States. Here in the United States we have been tragically recently reminded of just how fragile democracy can be. We must continue our efforts at home and abroad to work in support of upholding fundamental democratic ideals. I was pleased to join Senator Romney last Congress in passing a resolution in support of the U.S.-Tunisia relationship and its ongoing democratizing efforts and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress, and with the incoming administration, to ensure that this support continues.”