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Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Saturday, 15 January 2011

Next 48 hours 'crucial' for Tunisia

Foreign Office minister Alastair Burt has said that the next 48 hours will be "crucial" for Tunisia, following the momentous events which culminated in the president of 23 years, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, fleeing to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Burt told the programme: "What we hope to see is Prime Minister Ghannouchi being able to gather significant figures around him to put together a coalition body which will take us through to what we hope will be free and fair elections where the will of the people can be properly expressed and that in that intervening period there will be calm and order restored which clearly is in everyone's interest and of course in the interests of British nationals who are there."

Parts of the Tunisian capital Tunis have been sealed off by security forces, and dozens of people have been killed in the uprising, sparked by widespread unemployment and disaffection with Mr Ben Ali's rule.

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