Modi was prompt in condemning terror incident: Tunisian envoy

Posted on 20th Mar 2015 10:19 am by mohit kumar

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) The terror attack in Tunisia that left 19 people dead is a move to “derail” the democratic process in the north African country, said its envoy here Thursday as he expressed gratitude for the “prompt” condemnation of the incident by India.

Tarek Azouz, Tunisian envoy to India, said his country’s security forces were trying to find those behind the attack on the Bardo Museum, a must-see on the tourism itinerary of the country.

A group of militants disguised as soldiers entered the museum and opened fire, killing 17 European tourists, including from Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain. Two Tunisians were also killed in the attack, while 22 people were injured, according to reports.

The north African country, which was where the Arab Spring movement began in December 2010, successfully held its first parliamentary and presidential elections last year and was seen as a beacon of hope for democracy in the region.

“We must all be unified to fight this phenomenon (terrorism), through a combination of ways, economically, socially, security-wise and in international forum. We rely on friendly ties of India,” Azouz told IANS in an interview.

Excerpts :

Q: Who could be behind the attack? Do you think the Islamic State is involved?

A: The security forces are trying to find out who are behind the attack. They are trying to find out the nationalities (of those behind the attack). They have long been trying to derail the democratic process in Tunisia, which is the only country which has seen a successful transition to democracy.

We must all be unified to fight this phenomenon (terrorism), through a combination of ways, economically, socially, security-wise and in international forum. We rely on friendly ties of India.

Q: Did you receive any expressions of support from India?

A: The prime minister (Narendra Modi) was prompt in tweeting his condemnation and in show of support.

International solidarity is very important. India is a peace loving country and friendly country.

Q: How is Tunisia dealing with it?

A: The terrorists were targeting the tourists. Tourism is one of the mainstays of Tunisia. Seven million tourists visit Tunisia annually and it contributes to seven percent of the GDP. The Bardo Museum holds the largest collection of Roman relics in the world, and is a must-visit place on the itinerary of every tourist.

The attack is also taking place less than two months after the one in France (on French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, on January 7).

Q: Was any Indian among the victims?

A: To my knowledge, there was no Indian among the victims.

No country is safe (from terrorism). International solidarity is important. India is a peace loving country.

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