Obama says US has enormous stake in Tunisia

October 7, 2011 - 4:00 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the U.S. has an enormous stake in seeing Tunisia succeed politically and economically.

Obama said he wanted Tunisia's prime minister to be the first Arab Spring leader to visit the White House because Tunisia is the country where the Arab Spring democracy movement started. Obama says the U.S. is deeply encouraged by the progress that has been made in Tunisia in a short period of time.

Obama spoke in the Oval Office Friday alongside Tunisian Prime Minster Beji Caid Essebsi (KAH-ihd ehs-SEHB-see).

January's protests in Tunisia kicked off the pro-democracy movement that has swept through the region this year. Tunisia will also be the first Arab Spring nation to hold elections, with voting set for Oct. 23.