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Cablegate: Ambassador Highlights Usg Support for Public

VZCZCXRO1519
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTU #0043 0141526
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141526Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEPGCA/USEUCOM AIDES VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4294
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS TUNIS 000043

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG (HARRIS AND HOPKINS)
EUCOM FOR ECJ4-HA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI PGOV PREL TS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR HIGHLIGHTS USG SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC
PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS ON SOCIAL ISSUES

1. (SBU) Summary. During his January 7 visit to the
Governorate of Nabeul, the Ambassador highlighted USG
financial and public support for Tunisian government and
civil society efforts to promote the integration of
handicapped youth through local educational initiatives. The
Ambassador visited two vocational training centers for
handicapped youth that were constructed with funding from the
US Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance (HA)
Program. The Ambassador also met with the Governor of Nabeul
to express USG appreciation for his support for the HA
program and discuss regional priorities, including
development of the agricultural and tourism sectors and
attracting US investment. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On January 7, the Ambassador visited the Governorate
of Nabeul and met with Governor Mohamed Lamine El Abed. The
Governor noted that Nabeul, Tunisia's third largest
governorate, has strong agriculture, handicrafts, industrial
and tourism sectors. El Abed told the Ambassador that he
hopes to attract more US investment, particularly in Nabeul's
burgeoning ecotourism industry. The Ambassador said he is
working to increase US business interest in Tunisia, which
has made impressive economic and social progress. He also
expressed USG thanks for the Governor's support for the two
HA-funded projects in Nabeul, which the Governor
characterized as examples of civil society development. El
Abed added that he fondly remembered the days of Peace Corps
in Tunisia and said that English education is a strategic
choice.

3. (U) The Ambassador also visited the two vocational
training centers in Nabeul and Menzil Temime that were
constructed with funding from the DOD Humanitarian Assistance
Program. The Embassy provided $550,000 to the Association
for the Parents and Friends of the Handicapped (APAHT) to
construct the two educational and training facilities that
promote a better quality of life for youth with special needs
and their families. The Ambassador had the opportunity to
speak with tens of students at the centers, as well as learn
more about the programs from APAHT volunteers and
professional educators. He recognized the centers as symbols
of education and opportunity -- common values shared by
Tunisia and the United States. The Ambassador also expressed
his support for the two projects and highlighted the efforts
put forth by the Tunisian authorities, community participants
and APAHT members for their support for and coordination of
the projects. (Note: Since 1999, the HA Program has provided
almost $5 million in funding for eight projects in Tunisia.
End Note.)

Please visit Embassy Tunis' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/tunis/index.c fm
GODEC

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