UN chief mourns death of Tunisian President Essebsi

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UNITED NATIONS, July 25 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that he was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia.

Essebsi is “a pivotal figure in the history of Tunisia and the country’s independence,” and he was “instrumental in successfully steering the country through its historic and peaceful transition to democracy” in recent years, the UN chief said.

The president will be remembered for his bold determination to uphold democratic rule in Tunisia and to respect and promote the rights of its citizens, including his strong advocacy for women’s rights and equality, he added.

“President Essebsi was a Tunisian pioneer, an Arab and African trailblazer, and a global leader,” said the secretary-general.

The Tunisian president died on Thursday at the age of 92 at a military hospital in the capital Tunis. Following his death, President of the Assembly of People’s Representatives Mohamed Ennaceur announced that he will act as interim president of Tunisia.

Essebsi was born on Nov. 29, 1926 in Sidi Bou Said in the northern suburbs of the capital. He took over the Tunisian presidency after winning the 2014 elections.

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