US urges calm, 'democratic principles' in Tunisia
The United States on Monday voiced alarm over the Tunisian president's sacking of the government and called on the birthplace of the Arab Spring to adhere to "democratic principles."
"We're concerned about the developments in Tunisia," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
"We are in touch at a senior level," she said. "We urge calm and support Tunisian efforts to move forward in line with democratic principles."
She said it was too early to determine whether Tunisian President Kais Saied had carried out a coup, saying the State Department would carry out a legal analysis.
Under domestic law, the United States is obligated to cut off direct assistance to governments that came to power by overthrowing elected leaders.
The law has occasionally led the State Department to go through bureaucratic contortions when it does not want to cut off aid, as when Egypt's then military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew an elected Islamist government in 2013.
Tunisia had often been cited as the greatest success story of the Arab Spring, the tumult sparked across the region after Mohamed Bouazizi, a university graduate who could only find work as a fruit vendor, self-immolated in December 2010.
Saied on Sunday dismissed the prime minister and ordered the parliament shut for 30 days following street protests in multiple cities over the government's handling of the Covid pandemic.