Washington, D.C. -- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the statement below following reports that Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has left the country after weeks of political unrest and violence:
“Tunisia has long been an important ally to the United States. It is my hope that the political transition unfolding in Tunisia will be peaceful and in accordance with its people’s legitimate democratic aspirations. While the unrest was sparked by the tragic suicide of a despondent youth several weeks ago, its root causes are deep and longstanding.
“Today’s events will resonate far beyond Tunisia’s borders. The countries of the broader Middle East have some of the youngest populations in the world. These young people yearn for a future free of political repression, corruption, and economic stagnation. The time has come for governments in the region to improve governance and transparency, create real avenues for political dialogue, urgently focus on the creation of meaningful employment opportunities, and demonstrate to the generation now coming of age that they will have better opportunities tomorrow than they do today.”
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