Int'l community joins Tunisians to bid farewell to late President Essebsi

Military procession accompanying the coffin of late Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi during his state funeral in Tunis. / Xinhua

Tunisian people paid on Saturday last tribute to their late President Beji Caid Essebsi, who passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 92.

Thousands of Tunisian people endured the scorching heat to attend the president's funeral, which was marked by a remarkable presence of dignitaries from foreign countries, including Arab and western heads of states and governments, as well as representatives of regional and international organizations.

Leaders who attended the late president's funeral include French President Emmanuel Macron, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister of Libya's UN-backed government Fayez al-Serraj and the Spanish King Felipe VI.

Several other official delegations also attended the funeral, including senior officials representing the leaders of Kuwait, Oman and Morocco. The acting Tunisian President Mohamed Ennaceur described Essebsi as an "artisan of the national consensus in Tunisia."

"Your absence is a pain and a loss for the homeland," he said during a speech broadcasted on all Tunisian television stations. For his part, al-Serraj said "Essebsi was one of the leaders of the 20th century, a symbol," stressing that the president was an excellent diplomat and his life was marked by his solid positions.

"We share the mourning of Tunisia after the departure of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his people and his country," assured the king of Spain during his brief speech. "His sacrifices for the democracy and development of his country, for years, marked the history," said king.

The body of President Essebsi was buried on Saturday in Al-Zallag cemetery in the Tunisian capital, under high security measures. Essebsi enjoys the trust and respect of Arab and foreign leaders and has contributed, since his rise to the presidency, to the promotion of the Tunisian diplomacy.

Essebsi was born on Nov. 29, 1926 in Sidi Bou Said in the northern suburbs of the capital.

He studied law in Paris until 1950, and two years later became a lawyer in his home country. His first involvement in politics dates back to 1941, when he joined the Neo Destour party, a Tunisian political party founded by a group of Tunisian nationalist politicians during the French colonization.

Following the country's independence from France in 1956, Essebsi began to exercise high political responsibilities. He took over the Tunisian presidency after winning the 2014 elections.

Xinhua

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