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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2004 > February

Remarks After Meeting with Tunisian President Ben Ali

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
February 17, 2004

(10:30 a.m. EST)

Secretary Powell with His Excellency Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of the Republic of Tunisia. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I only have a moment, but I just concluded a very fine meeting with President Ben Ali. It lasted an hour. I welcomed him to the United States and told him how much the President is looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.

The United States and Tunisia have enjoyed a long, deep relationship going back over 200 years. Both of our nations are strong friends and support one another in every way that we can.

I complimented the President again on the progress that has been made in Tunisia with respect to economic reform. We are in TISA (sic) agreements, TIFA agreements discussion with Tunisia. They have done quite a bit with respect to the education of their population, women's rights and a number of other issues that are of importance to us, but more importantly of importance to the people of Tunisia.

I also mentioned to the President that we had some continuing concerns with respect to political reform, with respect to media access and other similar issues where I think Tunisia could do more. And in a spirit of friendship, I laid out those items to him. My staff has been in touch with Tunisian counterparts to discuss these issues and I know that it will be a matter for discussion with the President tomorrow.

Tunisia is a good friend, a strong friend, one whose friendship we have appreciated over these many, many years, and as you can with strong friends, you can discuss issues that are in contention. And the President and I had a good discussion, just as we had in December when I visited him in Tunisia.

Thank you very much. I'll see you in about an hour.



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