30 October 2013 6:53 pm | | 1


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Soldier after suicide bombing in Sousse, October 30, 2013. Photo credit: Tunisia Live

Soldier after suicide bombing in Sousse, October 30, 2013. Photo credit: Tunisia Live

Tunisia’s tourist industry and political process appeared to carry on today despite a bombing in Sousse, a popular tourist destination, and a failed bombing in the nearby city of Monastir.

Ghassen Ksibi, a spokesperson for the UGTT union which is mediating high-level political talks, told Tunisia Live that political dialogue continued today despite the bombing.

The talks are meant to resolve the country’s three-month-long political crisis. 

“This only makes the different parties in the national dialogue more determined to reach consensus on the head of the government so we can combat terrorism,” he said.

The schedule for political talks calls for the parties to select an “independent national figure” who will then nominate and lead a new government to take power within three weeks.

A committee of politicians tasked with choosing the new government head has been meeting this week and will announce a new prime minister nominee on Saturday, according to the union.

“We need to hurry up to resolve the political crisis to fight the ghost of terrorism,” UGTT Secretary-General Houcine Abbassi echoed in a statement on the union’s Facebook page.

National Constituent Assembly (NCA) members are resolved to keep working despite the unfavorable conditions brought on by today’s violence, according to Selim Kharrat of the NCA watchdog organization Al-Bawsala.

Kharrat told Tunisia Live he was present in an NCA meeting this morning with a Ministry of Interior representative when news about the Sousse bombing broke. The meeting was to discuss increasing benefits to security personnel, a demand of the security unions. Some NCA members, after hearing the news, wanted to push ahead with the law to increase benefits, although it does not appear this was done, Kharrat said.

Despite the attack on a hotel in Sousse, tourism does not seem to be greatly affected. 

The Ministry of Tourism created a “crisis unit” to respond to the bombing, according to Zoubaier Jebali, a spokesperson at the ministry. The group is coordinating with the Ministry of Interior to provide updated information to travelers.

No flight or hotel cancellations have been received, nor have embassies recommended citizens leave Tunisia, Jebali said. He said that a dozen tourists at the targeted Riadh Palm hotel had initially wanted to leave, but the crisis unit convinced them to stay and that the security situation was under control.

Mohamed Maknine, an employee of the Moevenpick hotel in Sousse, said this afternoon that the hotel had put additional security measures in place, and that no guests had cancelled their reservations.

The Karthago El Ksar hotel in Sousse had also not seen any cancellations, and said that some guests are unaware of what happened nearby, according to hotel employee Faten Mejri. She said that the hotel was protected by its own security personnel and by police.

Farah Samti, Hanen Keskes, and Robert Joyce contributed reporting.

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