Democratic Leader of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi expressed her worry over the state of women’s rights and media freedom in Tunisia during meetings with Tunisian government officials yesterday, according to an official in the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The US Congressional delegation, led by Pelosi, met with Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Speaker of the Constituent Assembly Dr. Mustapha Ben Jaafar. According to the source, the meetings focused on strategies to boost foreign direct investment and financial assistance to Tunisia.
For Pelosi, it was imperative that Tunisia maintain an untarnished image abroad if American businesses are to feel comfortable in investing in Tunisia, stated the official.
Recent events gave Pelosi the impression that media freedom and womens’ rights are under threat in Tunisia, confirmed the foreign ministry official.
Pelosi mentioned the arrest of three newsmen for having run on the front page a racy photo of Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira and his girlfriend Lena Gercke and the growing visibility of religious hardliners in Tunisian society as alarming trends that caused some concern, according to the Foreign Ministry official.
Tunisian officials reassured Pelosi and the other members of the US Congress that the government is committed to upholding civil liberties as the country continues down the path of its democratic transition, said the source.
The Congressional delegation included Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Congressman George Miller of California, and Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia.
Today, the delegation was in Libya to meet with Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Keib.