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Cablegate: Mgpko2: Tunisia "Firmly Condemns" Bhutto

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTU #1616 3621216
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281216Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4248
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 0213

UNCLAS TUNIS 001616

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR PAKISTAN MONITORING GROUP AND NEA/MAG (HARRIS AND
HOPKINS)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PK TS
SUBJECT: MGPKO2: TUNISIA "FIRMLY CONDEMNS" BHUTTO
ASSASSINATION


1. (SBU) Summary. Official and private Tunisians were quick
to denounce the December 27 assassination of former Pakistani
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. On December 27, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs "firmly condemned" the assassination and
reasserted Tunisia's rejection of all forms of terrorism.
Tunisian media headlined the "tragedy" and lamented the blow
to democracy. Local contacts also condemned the "abominable"
act and expressed concern for stability in the Arab and
Muslim world. End Summary.

2. (U) 12/27/07 MFA Statement (official Tunisia Africa News
Agency translation):

Begin Text:

Following the assassination of Pakistani former prime
minister Benazir Bhutto, the foreign ministry released the
following communique: "Tunisia learned with deep regret and
dismay the news of the assassination of Pakistani former
prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

While firmly condemning this appalling criminal act, Tunisia
expresses its solidarity with the Pakistani brotherly people
and its care for its security and stability.

In another connection, Tunisia reasserts its rejection of
terrorism under all its forms and calls once more the
international community to combine efforts to contain this
dangerous phenomenon."

End Text.

3. (U) Tunisian media headlined Bhutto's death and
highlighted the GOT condemnation of "this criminal act."
Citing texts of Bhutto's own statements against extremism,
private French daily Le Temps headlined her passing as "The
assassination of a symbol." Predictions that this was the
end of the democratic process in Pakistan were a common
thread in all papers. Under the title "The Price of
Democracy," a front page editorial by Ali Tlili in the Arabic
daily as-Sabah opined "many calculations and facts are likely
to be changed...by the Pakistani street once it recovers from
its state of shock." In the privately-owned Arabic daily
ash-Shourouq, Mohamed Hedi Haydar compared the situation in
Pakistan ("assassination, strife and internal fighting") to
Lebanon and blamed the USG for causing Bhutto's death.

4. (SBU) Private Embassy contacts also characterized the
assassination as a tragedy. One retired Tunisian diplomat
told A/DCM that Bhutto's death was a "blow" not only for
Pakistan, but also for democracy. A labor activist told
PolOff that Tunisians were "traumatized" by the frightening
event. Several contacts opined that leaders, including
Tunisian President Ben Ali, and elites in the Arab and Muslim
world today are likely fearful for their own futures. While
lamenting the "serial" nature of suspicious deaths in
Bhutto's family, another contact suggested that the
Government of Pakistan may have been involved in her
assassination.

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

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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