UK Foreign Secretary Hague arrives in Tunisia for political, economic meetings

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LONDON/TUNIS: UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has arrived in Tunisia for the start of a three day visit to North Africa and the Middle East which will see him visit five countries at a time of great opportunity in the region, Britain's Foreign Office said on early Tuesday morning.

Hague's discussions will focus on calls for greater political openness and economic development in the Middle East in the light of recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, where massive protests have led to political changes.

In Tunisia, the Foreign Secretary is scheduled to meet leading figures from the interim government including Prime Minister Ghannouchi and International Co-operation Minister Jouini. He will pledge the UK's support for the people of Tunisia in their democratic aspirations.

Hague will further announce a new UK funding to support reform projects across the Middle East including in Tunisia, in the areas of access to justice, freedom of expression, democratic institutions and civil society.

Britain says the coalition government has invested significant time and effort since taking office to intensifying the UK's historic partnerships in the Middle East and Gulf as part of a distinctive and long term British foreign policy towards the region. The visit will seek to further strengthen these ties.

(BNO NEWS )

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