Strasbourg, 28 June 2012 - The visit of Mustapha Ben Jaafar, speaker of Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly to the Council of Europe, who is to speak today at 3:30 p.m. in front of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, was welcomed by the Secretary General of the Organisation, Thorbjørn Jagland:
"Today, I am delighted to welcome Mustapha Ben Jaafar, speaker of Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly, who will visit the Council of Europe. His choice to visit us sends an important signal to all Arab Spring nations.
As a guide for over 800 million Europeans in respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights, the Council of Europe is proud to support the burgeoning democracies in our southern neighbourhood and to work hand-in-hand to ensure that Tunisia meets the democratic hopes and aspirations of her people.
Tunisia is preparing to draft a new Constitution and to hold elections early next year, and constructive meetings continue between our legal experts and specialists and members of the Constituent Assembly. I was very impressed when visiting Tunis earlier this year with the progress Tunisia is making in its transition to democracy.
Tunisia was the starting point of the Arab Spring and serves as a model for change in the region. I am sure that Tunisia will also set an example to nations in the region for human rights, particularly with regard to gender equality and freedom of expression".