Tu­nisia cel­e­brates 60th Na­tional Day

The Korea Times - - EMBASSY ROW - By Rachel Lee rachel@ktimes.com

Tu­nisian Ambassador to Korea Mo­hamed Ali Nafti hosted a re­cep­tion to mark his coun­try’s 60th Na­tional Day — and to bid his farewell — at the Korea Press Cen­ter in Seoul on July 25.

For­eign en­voys and lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing Korea-Tu­nisia Par­lia­men­tary Friend­ship Group Pres­i­dent Joo Gwang-deok, at­tended.

Nafti, who ends his term Mon­day, be­lieved the two coun­tries have promis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly in in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy, sci­en­tific re­search, health, cul­ture and eco­nomic part­ner­ships.

“Tu­nisia shall al­ways ex­tend its hand to fur­ther en­hance the friendly re­la­tion­ship of co­op­er­a­tion so hap­pily ex­ist­ing with Korea,” the ambassador said dur­ing his speech.

He called Kore­ans “ad­mirable, hard­work­ing, in­no­va­tive and gen­er­ous” and said he was very proud of Korea’s na­tional iden­tity and cul­tural her­itage.

On July 25, 1957, a year and four months af­ter re­gain­ing its in­de­pen­dence, Tu­nisia ush­ered in a new po­lit­i­cal era by pro­claim­ing unan­i­mously the first sov­er­eign and mod­ern re­pub­lic in the coun­try’s his­tory, led by Habib Bour­guiba, the diplo­mat said.

“Since then, and not­with­stand­ing some weak­nesses due to the lack of democ­racy, sig­nif­i­cant and valu­able ac­com­plish­ments have been achieved, in par­tic­u­lar in the field of education, women’s em­pow­er­ment and health­care,” he said.

Thanks to a long process of re­forms that cul­mi­nated in the Jas­mine Rev­o­lu­tion, Tu­nisians can en­joy the sec­ond re­pub­lic whose cor­ner­stones have been con­sol­i­dated by the adop­tion of a new con­sti­tu­tion and fair and trans­par­ent elec­tions held in 2014, the diplo­mat said.

Dur­ing his term, Tu­nisia had a spe­cial mo­ment — win­ning the No­bel Peace Prize for 2015.

The Tu­nisian Na­tional Di­a­logue Quar­tet re­ceived the award in Oc­to­ber for a “de­ci­sive con­tri­bu­tion to the build­ing of a plu­ral­is­tic democ­racy in Tu­nisia in the wake of the Jas­mine Rev­o­lu­tion of 2011,” the No­bel Prize jury said.

The quar­tet was formed in the sum­mer of 2013, when the coun­try’s move to democ­racy was in dan­ger of col­laps­ing be­cause of po­lit­i­cal as­sas­si­na­tions and wide­spread so­cial un­rest.

“We Tu­nisians are aware that democ­racy is a long process and we re­main strongly com­mit­ted to pre­serv­ing our young democ­racy, which also re­quires the suc­cess of the eco­nomic tran­si­tion and the con­tin­u­ous sup­port of friendly coun­tries, among them, Korea,” Nafti said.

Cour­tesy of Em­bassy of Tu­nisia

Tu­nisian Ambassador to Korea Mo­hamed Ali Nafti, left, shakes hands with Korea-Tu­nisia Par­lia­men­tary Friend­ship Group Pres­i­dent Joo Gwang-deok dur- ing a re­cep­tion that marked Tu­nisia’s 60th Na­tional Day at the Korea Press Cen­ter in Seoul, July 25.

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