Tunisian President arrives in Libya amid ongoing border incidents
TRIPOLI - Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki arrived in Tripoli on Monday for his first visit abroad since being sworn in as head of state in mid-December.
Marzouki, who won elections held at the elected Constituent Assembly in the wake of the toppling of his predecessor Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, was welcomed at Tripoli's international airport by Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of Libya's National Transitional Council.
During his visit he will hold talks with Abdel Jalil, Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib and other senior officials of the North African country, officials said.
Earlier on Sunday, a Tunisian policeman kidnapped by self-proclaimed Libyan revolutionaries on the border was freed, a day after being taken hostage by about 10 armed men, the TAP news agency reported.
Walid Othmani and three others were seized on the border while patrolling the frontier region of Benguerdane, TAP said.
It quoted interior ministry spokesman Hichem Medeb as saying that the kidnappers described themselves as "Libyan revolutionaries". He said the three other police officers managed to flee.
Othami's father Mokhtar said he was injured by bullets and added that the abductors wanted "to hold him hostage in a swap for an unknown party".
The Tunisian-Libyan border post of Ras Jdir reopened in both directions on December 22 after Tunisian customs officials stopped reporting for duty at the post since November 30, following a string of incidents and infiltrations of armed Libyans.
The Libyan side of the crossing, vital to the area's economy, had been controlled by former rebels who fought to topple Moamer Gathafi but was not formally under the central government's authority.
Tunisia provided refuge to tens of thousands of Libyan civilians who fled the months of fighting that led to the collapse of Gathafi's regime with his death in October.