UAE urges Tunisians to 'stick together'

The United arab Emirates on Sunday urged Tunisians to unite and restore order after violent protests forced president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the north African country.

"The UAE urges the Tunisian people in this delicate moment to stick together, to maintain national unity and to thwart any attempt to undermine Tunisia or its security and stability," said a cabinet statement carried by the state news agency WAM.

The oil-rich Gulf state had "been closely following the latest developments in the sisterly Republic of Tunisia, and wishes quick restoration of the stability and security there," said the English-language statement.

It appealed to Tunisians to "unify their ranks to safeguard the achievements of their country on the institutional, legal and constitutional basis" and "to overcome the current situation."

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on Friday after 23 years in power following a popular uprising.

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