Parliament speaker receives Tunisian ambassador

Zagreb - Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko on Tuesday received the Vienna-based Tunisian Ambassador to Croatia, Mohamed Samir Koubaa, for talks on the democratic transition in Tunisia, the assistance Croatia can extend in that regard, and the development of economic and cultural relations.

Leko said Croatia paid special attention to the events in North Africa and that it was interested in the development of democratic processes in Tunisia and the entire region. He said the relations could be taken to the next step through cooperation in the Union for the Mediterranean, inter-parliamentary cooperation and the Croatian Foreign Ministry's cooperation programmes for North African countries.

Leko said it was in the mutual interest to intensify political and economic cooperation, notably in tourism and environmental protection, as protecting the Mediterranean Sea was a joint interest.

Koubaa congratulated Croatia on joining the European Union, thanking the Croatian government for its help in the democratic process in Tunisia. He said his country was the first in North Africa to have embarked on democratisation and that its success would encourage other countries in the region.

Koubaa announced that the ruling coalition in Tunisia should draw up a constitution by the end of this month and an election law by the end of the year. He said Tunisia was interested in Croatia's experience in democratisation and transition.

The ambassador conveyed National Constituent Assembly President Mustapha Ben Jafar's invitation to Leko to visit Tunisia. Koubaa was also received by the chair of the Croatian parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, Milorad Pupovac, who highlighted tourism as an especially interesting economic area of common interest.

Croatia welcomes the political processes of Tunisia's democratisation and since human rights are very important to Croatia, it offers its experience because in light of its past it can better understand Tunisia's reality, Pupovac said, underscoring the importance of creating a balance between national identity and common values.

Autor: Hina