Tunisia Prime Minister Sees Main Threat From Libya

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Tunisia Prime Minister Sees Main Threat From Libya

Outgoing Tunisian Prime Minister, Mehdi Jomaa, casts his ballot in Sidi Bou Said, on the outskirts of Tunis, Tunisia, Sunday, Dec, 21, 2014. (Associated Press)

Tunis:  The greatest threat that Tunisia faces is coming from neighboring Libya, where militias are fighting each other, Tunisia's outgoing Prime Minister said Friday.

Mehdi Jomaa spoke to The Associated Press on the eve of his official trips to France and the United States to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation. He said that while Tunisia has taken steps to confront terrorism, the threat remains.

"Terrorism has been reduced in Tunisia this year and seen many frontal attacks against terrorism," he said. "The threat remains present, but we have made a lot of progress."

Jomaa became interim Prime Minister at the start of the year and guided the country through presidential and legislative elections. He will soon be stepping aside for the newly elected government.

Alone among the countries that overthrew their rulers after the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, democracy has stayed on track in Tunisia, though there were a number of terrorist attacks.

Two politicians were assassinated in 2013, provoking a political crisis that forced the elected Islamist government to step down in favor of a Cabinet of technocrats led by Jomaa.

He described Libya as in a state of war, as militias battle each other, and said for the past months Tunisian forces guarding the 450 kilometer border have been on a state of alert.

Jomaa said his trips to France and the US will focus on the situation in Libya, including efforts by neighboring nations to open dialogue with its officials. Tunisia also will seek military aid to help modernize its armed forces and protect its borders.

In addition, the outgoing Prime Minister will meet with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to gain further international support for Tunisia's faltering economy, which has yet to recover from the instability following the revolution.

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