German foreign minister to visit Tunisia

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German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will visit Tunisia Saturday for political talks and to show support for reforms underway since last month's Jasmine Revolution, his ministry announced Friday.

Westerwelle, who will be accompanied by two junior ministers responsible for economic matters and development aid, will meet with Tunisia's caretaker prime minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, his ministry said in a statement.

He was also due to meet representatives of the former opposition and with "members of the Tunisian blogger scene", the ministry added.

"The aim of minister Westerwelle's visit is to give a clear signal that Germany and Europe are ready to assist Tunisia in this ongoing period of transformation," it said.

Westerwelle's visit follows that earlier this week of British Foreign Secretary William Hague, while chief European Union diplomat Catherine Ashton will be in Tunisia on Monday.

Germany said Thursday it would take part in an international conference soon to be organised by Tunisia to discuss how foreign governments can assist in the "political and economic transformation" after mass protests led to the downfall of strongman president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

© 2011 AFP

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