UPDATE : 2018.11.16 FRI 13:10
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Tunisia welcomes economic cooperation with Korea, other countriesAmbassador Ali Nafti stresses at National Day reception

Ambassador Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia in Seoul said that there are a lot of good reasons to be optimistic about the young Tunisian democracy. Speaking at a reception he hosted at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on March 21 in celebration of the 60th Independence Day of the Republic of Tunisia, he said, “The progressive Constitution adopted in January 2014 paved the way to fair and transparent legislative and presidential elections, which marked the successful passage from the transitional period to the permanent institutions.”

Then he said that the Nobel peace prize recently awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was hence a recognition of these historical achievements, fruit of consensus among political parties and proactive role of the civil society in leading the dialogue to succeed the political transition.

Ambassador Ali Nafti especially stressed the importance of increased cooperation between his country and the outside world.

▲Ambassador Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia (center) flanked by Minister Ms. Kang Eun-Hee of Gender Equality and Family (right) and Mrs. Ali Nafti.

He said, “We remain absolutely aware that we should primarily rely on our national unity to bolster our young democracy against all threats but we also welcome any political and official support coming from the International Organizations as well as brotherly and friendly countries and among them the Republic of Korea through its government, National Assembly and civil society.”

“In this context,” he said, “while expressing our gratitude to the Korean Government for its constant assistance through the KOICA and other institutions, we reiterate our invitation to Korean private sector to further explore the promising investment opportunities and the attractive business environment and numerous incentives that the Tunisian site offers especially after the newly adopted economic reforms.”
(See excerpts from his speech at the end of this report.)

The reception was international community as well as the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
Among the Korean guests were Minister Ms. Kang Eun-Hee of Gender Equality and Family and the representatives from business, social, media and other organizations, including Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
Attendance from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps was also very large, and included dozens of ambassadors accompanied by their spouses, who included Ambassadors Derragui Mohammed Elamine of Algeria, Md. Zulfiqur Rahman of Bangladesh, Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla of Holy See, Hassan Taherian of Iran, Aingeal O’onoghue of Ireland, Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia, Mohammed Chraibi of Morocco, Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia, and Mark W. Lippert of the United.

▲Ambassador Ali Nafti of Tunisia and Minister Kang of Gender Equality (11th and 13th from left) cut the celebration cake with other ambassadors.

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Ali Nafti:
Sixty years in a history of a country which enjoys more than 3000 years of civilization is relatively short, nevertheless it is rather very meaningful in terms of major achievements made by its vibrant people.
Indeed, on 20th March 1956, our country retrieved its freedom and sovereignty and started setting up the foundation of its modern state after choosing the republic as a political regime.
Notwithstanding a significant number of very valuable accomplishments in diverse fields mainly women empowerment where Tunisia has been a pioneer in the Arab and Muslim world- free education, birth control, the country lived decades of lack of political freedom, liberty of expression and good governance.
This has led to the outbreak of a peaceful Revolution in January 2011 Revolution, ushering in a new era of hope for a better future where dignity, justice, democracy and a genuine social development should prevail.
Five years later and despite some painful moments and difficult regional conjuncture, there are a lot of good reasons to remain optimistic about the young Tunisian democracy.
We should mention in particular, the adoption of a progressive Constitution in January 2014 which paved the way to the holding of the first ever fair and transparent legislative and presidential elections, and marked the successful passage from the transitional period to the phase of permanent institutions.
The Nobel peace prize recently awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was hence a recognition of these historical achievements, fruit of consensus among political parties and proactive role of the civil society in leading the dialogue to succeed the political transition.
This prestigious prize will always be a matter of national pride for us and a source of motivation to keep preserving our young democracy and raise the big challenges our country is facing especially at security level to consolidate its position in the concert of Nations.

▲Ambassador Ali Nafty and Minister Kang (left and right) offer a toast for increased cooperation and friendship between Korea and Tunisa.

More recently, Tunisia was able to timely thwart a big terrorist attack in the southern city of Ben Guerdane, thanks to the effective intervention of our army and security forces and the impressive and unwavering solidarity of the authentic residents of this city who courageously backed our forces.
We remain absolutely aware that we should primarily rely on our national unity to bolster our young democracy against all threats but we also welcome any political and official support coming from the International Organizations as well as brotherly and friendly countries and among them the Republic of Korea through its government, National Assembly and civil society.
In this context, and while expressing our gratitude to the Korean Government for its constant assistance through the KOICA and other institutions, we reiterate our invitation to Korean private sector to further explore the promising investment opportunities and the attractive business environment and numerous incentives that the Tunisian site offers especially after the newly adopted economic reforms.
And as we are convinced that any sustainable relations between countries and nations should focus on people to people exchanges, the cultural and educational fields remain a core component of our efforts to further reinforce the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Tunisia and the Republic of Korea.

▲Among the distinguished guests was Ambassador Mark Lippert of the United States (left) who is increasingly seen at diplomatic functions. At right is Editorial Writer Ms. Yeo Mung-joo of The Korea Post, who owns and manages Gracia Boutique Hotel in Samcheok on the East Coast.

Among the distinguished guests was Ambassador Mark Lippert of the United States (left) who is increasingly seen at diplomatic functions. At right is Editorial Writer Ms. Yeo Mung-joo of The Korea Post, who owns and manages Gracia Boutique Hotel in Samcheok on the East Coast.

In this spirit, I would like to pay tribute to the Institute of Middle Eastern Affairs of Myongji University for having translated the Tunisian Constitution in Korean language, the sixth fundamental law of the Tunisia’s history, since the Constitution of Carthage which is one of the oldest constitutions of ancient history evoked by the Greek philosopher Aristotle in his famous book, "Politics".
I would also like to praise the excellent work made by Professor Kim Jong-A in translating into Korean language the great book “Muqaddimah” of Ibn Khaldoune, the prominent Tunisian historian, regarded to be among the founding fathers of modern sociology, historiography, demography and economics.
Before I conclude, I would like to express my congratulations to the Tunisian women who enjoy 60 years of emancipation, freedom and effective participation in public life in Tunisia thanks to the Code of Personal Status adopted in August 1956.
In this spirit, while praising the efforts of the Korean Government in promoting gender equality through new laws and policies, we highly appreciate the meaningful presence among us of Madam the Minister of Gender Equality and Family in this very special commemoration.
Thank you very much for your attention and for being with us to commemorate this meaningful event.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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