Tunisia's Education Minster Mohamed Mzali delivered a letter to Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad in Damascus on Friday (8 February) from the Tunisian President, Habib Bourguiba.
SV INTERIOR: Syria's President Al-Assad speaks with Tunisian Education Minister, Mohamed Mzali.
CU: Mr Mzali and PAN TO Al-Assad TO Mzali and ZOOM OUT TO GV
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Background: Tunisia's Education Minster Mohamed Mzali delivered a letter to Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad in Damascus on Friday (8 February) from the Tunisian President, Habib Bourguiba. The message is believed to deal with the Tunisian government's attitude to a recent attack on the phosphate mining centre of Gafsa. Tunisia claims the Libyan Jamahiriyah was responsible for the attack.
SYNOPSIS: The Tunisian president says Colonel Gaddafi thinks Tunisia is ripe for revolution. Tunisia has suspended but not broken off diplomatic relations with the Libyan Jamahiriyah, and observers believe Syria is being called upon to act as a mediator between the two countries. The attack on Gafsa, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) from the Algerian border, caused an estimated 41 deaths, with at least 100 people wounded. Fighting between the attackers and Tunisian government forces went on for several days in Gafsa itself and in nearby hill country. Tunisia and the Libyan Jamahiriyah have asked for an urgent meeting of the Arab League to discuss the attack. Tunisia has demanded the meeting to protest at what it described as the aggression perpetrated at the instigation of the Libyan Jamahiriyah.