Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize laureate urges international community for economic assistance

Tunisian trade union leader Wided Bouchamaoui, one of this year's Nobel Peace laureates, has urged the international community to help her country succeed in its economic transition and find ways of halting violence.

"We now must find a way to say no to terrorists, no to arms, no to wars," Bouchamaoui said Wednesday in Oslo, a day before she was due to be handed the prestigious award. "We have succeeded on a political transition. We now need to succeed in economic transition."

Houcine Abassi, secretary general of the UGTT union, another member of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize quartet, said it was important that they identify the roots of extremism.

"It is the task of the government to give a military answer to terrorism and to establish organizations that can give a diagnosis of the problem," Abassi said through an interpreter. "We will stand ready to help other organizations in such work."

The award was "an international recognition," said Bouchamaoui, whose country is still troubled by poverty and violence despite the revolution in 2011.

Tourism, which is vital for Tunisia's economy, has seriously suffered since two attacks killed scores of tourists, causing the number of foreign visitors to plummet. Economic growth has been flat or negative with unemployment at more than 15 percent and inflation of about 6 percent.

The Nobel Peace Prize winners — the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet — were cited by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for making a "decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia" after the Jasmine Revolution.

The laureates were speaking to reporters in the Norwegian capital where they will be presented their awards on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death in 1896. The Nobel Prizes in literature, medicine, chemistry, physics and economics will be handed out on the same day in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.