• Short Summary

    Libya and Tunisia became one country -- the Islamic Arab Republic -- on Saturday (January 12).

  • Description

    Libya and Tunisia became one country -- the Islamic Arab Republic -- on Saturday (January 12).

    The agreement to set up the new Republic was signed at the Ulysses Palace Hotel on Djerba Island off the Tunisian coast by president Habib Bourguibe a of Tunisia and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

    There had been no hint of the merger from either country, and the official announcement, issued after the agreement was signed, came as a shock to the Arab world.

    In December 1972, Colonel Gaddafi offered unity with Tunisia, with President Bourguiba as the head of the two republics. President Bourguiba's response was reported to be cautious, although he did not reject the proposal
    Tunisia has the smaller land area of the two countries, but has an estimated population of 5 million, compared with Libya's two million. Libya's major revenue earner, is oil, while Tunisia relies heavily on agriculture and minerals.

    Libya and Egypt announce they would merge by September last year, but the final agreement fell short of a total merger. Since then, relations between the two countries have deteriorated.

    In age, political experience and manner, the Tunisian and Libyan ???onts stand in contrast. However both share anti-communist views, ???tavo often opposed the views put forward by the other Arab states.

    The Islamic Arab Republic will have a single flag, a unified Army, and ??? constitution. A referendum on the creation of the new state is to be weld sometime during the next months.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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