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Tunisia to lift political party bans, give amnesty to political prisoners

Tunisia's government has decided to grant recognition to all banned political groups and adopt an amnesty for all political prisoners, ministers said after a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

"We are in agreement for a general amnesty," said Higher Education Minister Ahmed Ibrahim, an opposition party leader who joined the coalition government after the ousting of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

"This meeting was historic. We were completely in agreement." Asked if the amnesty would include people jailed for membership of banned Islamist movement Ennahda, he told Reuters: "Yes, of course, everybody will be part of this amnesty."

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Youth Minister Mohamed Aloulou, when asked if the government had also decided to lift a ban on political movements including Ennahda, said: "Yes, we are in complete agreement. We are not going back ... We will recognise all the political movements."

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