, UNITED NATIONS, Jan 15 – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for a "democratic outcome" to Tunisia\’s crisis after President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country.
Ban "is aware of the reports that President Ben Ali has left the country," said a UN statement.
"The secretary general calls for full respect for freedom of expression and association and urges all concerned parties to seek to resolve issues peacefully and lawfully with the goal of addressing grievances as well as to work towards a democratic outcome that responds to the aspirations of the Tunisian people," said the statement.
Ban "is closely monitoring events in Tunisia and will continue to do so," said the UN.
At a press conference earlier in the day, Ban said: "I\’m saddened by the loss of lives and call again for restraint in the use of force and full respect for freedom of expression and association," he added.
Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on Friday amid a wave of deadly social protests in a dramatic end to his 23 years in power.