Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union (AU) Saturday condemned the use of excessive force against protesters in Tunisia and urged the political class to stick to the laws governing the succession of the President.
It also called on the authorities there to take steps to avoid further bloodshed, and directed AU Commission President Jean Ping to take any further steps he considers necessary to ensure the crisis in the country does not escalate further.
In a statement issued after its emergency meeting, the Peace and Security Council strongly condemned the use of excessive force against the demonstrators, resulting in loss of life, and stressed the need to spare no efforts to avoid any further loss of life.
It expressed its solidarity with the people of Tunisia, and conveyed its condolences to the families of the victims and wished early recovery to the injured.
The Council urgently appealed to the Tunisians for calm and an end to all acts of violence and destruction of property.
President Zein Al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country Friday after weeks of protests over rising food costs and unemployment.
The AU appealed to the political stakeholders and the Tunisian people to work together, in unity, consensus and respect for legality, towards a peaceful and democratic transition, which will allow the Tunisian people to freely choose their leaders through free, open, democratic and transparent elections.
It requested the Chairperson of the Commission to continue to follow closely the situation in Tunisia and to take any initiative that he deems necessary with a view to contributing to a peaceful and democratic transition respecting the will of the people.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 15Jan2011