Opposition Frustration in Morocco, Agreement to Avert Strike in Tunisia
Opposition leaders in Morocco are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of reform in their country. ”These days, many here (in Morocco) are questioning whether the king and his entourage really gave up anything at all,” said Suzanne Daley in the New York Times. “Here, the larger tensions appear to be over the power of the old guard,” Daley said. Speaking with Reuters, Fathallah Arsalene, senior member of the Justice and Spirituality organization, agreed, saying “people are now convinced the steps taken in Morocco are more or less superficial.”
Due to illness, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cancelled her trip to Morocco, where she had planned to attend a Friends of the Syrian People meeting. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will be attending the meeting in her stead, where the U.S. is expected to recognize the newly formed Syrian National Coalition. Clinton’s plans to travel to Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates later this week have not been cancelled.
Meanwhile, Tunisia’s government reportedly reached a deal with the UGTT trade union to avert a nationwide strike, which was originally scheduled for Thursday. Although the draft agreement remains subject to dispute, UGTT deputy secretary general Belgacem Ayari said the plan could lead to a detente, pending formal UGTT approval. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki postponed his scheduled trip to Poland and Bulgaria to remain in the country as tensions mount. Near the boarder with Algeria, a Tunisian policeman was killed during clashes with armed insurgents, stoking fears that militancy in the region is spreading.