In quotes: Reaction to Tunisian crisis

Leading figures from around the world react following a day of fast-moving events in Tunisia in which President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali stands down after days of violent protests across the country.

US President Barack Obama

I condemn and deplore the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in Tunisia, and I applaud the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people.

The United States stands with the entire international community in bearing witness to this brave and determined struggle for the universal rights that we must all uphold, and we will long remember the images of the Tunisian people seeking to make their voices heard.

I urge all parties to maintain calm and avoid violence, and call on the Tunisian government to respect human rights, and to hold free and fair elections in the near future that reflect the true will and aspirations of the Tunisian people.

Countries that respect the universal rights of their people are stronger and more successful than those that do not.

I have no doubt that Tunisia's future will be brighter if it is guided by the voices of the Tunisian people.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague

I condemn the violence and call on the Tunisian authorities to do all they can to resolve the situation peacefully. I am calling for a rapid return to law and order, restraint from all sides, an orderly move towards free and fair elections and an immediate expansion of political freedoms in Tunisia.

Our embassy in Tunis is providing help and assistance to the UK citizens affected.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Only dialogue can bring a democratic and lasting solution to the current crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The situation in Tunisia is extremely serious. It shows that stagnation has made the people very impatient.

We will now bring our influence to bear in order to ensure that things take place there peacefully and that there are as few victims to mourn as possible.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Stefan Fuele

We want to express our support and recognition to the Tunisian people and their democratic aspirations, which should be achieved in a peaceful way.

In this regard, we urge all parties to show restraint and remain calm in order to avoid further casualties and violence.

Dialogue is key. We reiterate our engagement with Tunisia and its people and our willingness to help find lasting democratic solutions to the ongoing crisis.

Arab League

The Aral League called "for all political forces, representatives of Tunisian society and officials to stand together and unite to maintain the achievements of the Tunisian people and realise national peace."

Qatar Foreign Ministry

Qatar respects the will and choice of the Tunisian people. Qatar commits to maintaining firm relations with the Tunisian people and developing them in the interest of both countries.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

The political situation is developing fast and every effort must be made by all concerned parties to establish dialogue and resolve problems peacefully to prevent further loss, violence and escalations.

I will continue to discuss this matter with the concerned parties.

Stefania Craxi, Italian foreign ministry spokeswoman

I'm sure that history in any case, will give him [President Ben Ali] the right credit due for the economic development, civil and social progress and political stability in Tunisia. Ben Ali probably did not realise in time that the country had been asking for a new transition and the start of a mature democracy process.

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