Protesters run for cover outside US Embassy in Tunis 390 (R).
(photo credit: Zoubeir Souissi / Reuters)
Tunis - Washington on Sunday urged Tunisia to bring the
attackers of its embassy here last month to trial and pledged to continue
support for the democratic transition in Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab
"I call upon the Tunisian government to conduct its investigation
and bring the perpetrators and instigators of this attack to justice," US
Ambassador Jacob Walles said in a letter to Tunisians marking a month after the
attack on the US Embassy in Tunis.
Salafists attacked the embassy
month to protest a film made in California deemed offensive to Islam. At least
four people were killed when they stormed the embassy.
In a recording
posted to Islamist websites on Friday, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called
on "free and distinguished zealots for Islam" to "continue their opposition to
American crusader Zionist aggression against Islam and Muslims" around the
Walles called upon the Tunisian government "to provide security
for its citizens and guests," adding that relations between the two countries
would not be affected by the attack.
"These attackers were unable to
damage the strong link between two peoples and US commitment to support the
transition in Tunisia from a dictatorship to a democracy, free and tolerant," he
Tunisia expects Washington to guarantee around a fifth of its
$2.2-2.5 billion borrowing needs next year to help its economy recover from last
year's revolution, the country's minister of international cooperation, Riadh
Betaib, told Reuters last month The US ambassador's message comes while
Tunisia is preparing to try Abu Ayoub, a senior leader in the Salafist movement
in Tunisia next week on charges of disturbing public security and incitement to
violence, including the US Embassy attack.
The government-led Islamist
Ennahda movement arrested dozens of Salafists after the embassy attack. Lawyers
said the detainees would be tried under an anti-terrorism law.
said this week some Salafists had started a prison hunger strike to protest
ill-treatment and prison conditions.
US President Barack Obama vowed
last month to tighten security at diplomatic missions around the world after the
killing of the US ambassador to Libya and attacks on embassies in Tunisia,
Yemen and Egypt.