Obama invites new Tunisian leader to U.S.

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 3, 2014 6:38pm EST

Tunisia's Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa speaks during a news conference in Tunis January 26, 2014. REUTERS/Anis Mili

Tunisia's Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa speaks during a news conference in Tunis January 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Anis Mili

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday invited Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa to visit Washington, days after a new Tunisian government replaced the Islamist party that took power after a 2011 uprising.

Obama, in a phone call to Jomaa, congratulated him on the ratification of a new constitution and the inauguration of his caretaker government.

Three years after the uprising against autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali inspired revolts across the region, Tunisia adopted a new constitution last week and a technocrat government formally took over until elections this year.

The new government resulted from a compromise between Tunisia's Islamist party and their secular opponents.

"The president commended the efforts of all of Tunisia's parties to work together to secure the gains made since the start of Tunisia's revolution, which inspired people around the world," said a White House statement.

The statement said Obama invited the prime Minister to visit Washington later this year to continue to build the U.S.-Tunisian relationship.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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