The violence in the Middle East and the sanctions against Iraq will dominate the visit of US Defense Secretary William Cohen to Tunisia, aides to Cohen told AFP Saturday.
Cohen, who arrived Friday shortly after a visit by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was due to meet Saturday with Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Tunisian Defense Minister Mohamed Jegham.
They were expected to discuss the clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian activists that have killed 86 people, mostly Palestinians, since September 28.
Tunisia has a one of the non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, which late Friday failed to agree a resolution condemning Israel's "excessive use of force" against Palestinians after the US threatened to veto a draft text.
Cohen will also stress the importance of sanctions against Iraq, the same sources said.
Earlier this week, a Tunisian plane carrying medical supplies followed the example of French, Russian, and Arab solidarity flights to Baghdad and flew into Baghdad in defiance of the UN embargo.
These countries argue that the embargo does not cover non-commercial passenger flights that are not carrying embargoed goods.
Cohen will also discuss military cooperation between Tunisia and the US. Since the beginning of 1999, the US has sent nearly 18 million dollars worth of military aid and equipment to Tunisia.
Later in the day, Cohen is to travel on to Greece for a two-day meeting with southeastern European defense ministers, mostly of Balkan countries -- TUNIS(AFP)
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