Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Egypt and Tunisia from March 15-17. Today, Secretary Clinton visited the Tunisian Red Crescent Training Center in Tunis, where she said: "...the world is [impressed] by Tunisia's remarkable humanitarian response to the crisis on your border, and that the United States is very proud to be your partner, to help with this center, to help with the ambulance and the training for the Red Crescent."
Secretary Clinton also met with Tunisian Foreign Minister Mouldi Kefi. Secretary Clinton said, "The Tunisian people have made history once again. You have shown the world that peaceful change is possible. The United States stood with Tunisia during your independence, and now we will stand with you as you make the transition to democracy and prosperity and a better future.
"The foreign minister and I have had a very productive meeting and discussed many of the plans that are being undertaken on behalf of Tunisia's future. The first step will be the election in July for the constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. We know that there will be much work that has to be done for both political and economic reform, and we discussed today a number of ways that the United States will help.
"We will support a new partnership between Tunisian civil society groups and technology companies in order to get more information, communications capacity available broadly throughout society. Microsoft Corporation has agreed to support groups that are advocating for human rights, democracy, civic education, and other important matters to society, providing computers, software, and training and other technical assistance.
"We will also work to create new jobs for Tunisians. The United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation, known as OPIC, will offer financial support in the form of direct loans, guarantees, and political risk insurance. OPIC is already supporting two Tunisian private equity firms that are focused on small and medium-size businesses and will support investor visits by American businesses to Tunisia."
Secretary Clinton continued, "Finally, let me say a word about the horrible violence going on in Libya. Mr. Kefi and I discussed the latest events and the international efforts to protect civilians and to pressure Qadhafi. I also thanked the minister for Tunisia's impressive humanitarian response to this crisis. During a difficult time for your own country, the Tunisian people have shown great generosity in helping to ease the suffering on your own borders. The United States has been very proud to support your efforts, and we understand very well the importance of bringing an end to the violence in Libya not only for the innocent Libyan people but also for Tunisia.
"We know there is a lot of work to be done, but we are very confident about the potential for democracy and economic opportunity in Tunisia, and the United States will be ready to assist in any way."