The warning was issued amid a wave of unrest throughout the Middle East.
In wake of the downfall of the regime of President Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali,
violent demonstrations have swept Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and Sudan.
"What is happening in Tunisia in terms of the revolution is not an issue
far from the issues of this summit which is economic and social
development," Mussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister, said.
In a Jan. 19 address to an Arab economic summit in Egypt's Sharm
e-Sheik, Mussa stressed that regional unrest was being fueled by economic
rather than political conditions, Middle East Newsline reported. It was the first time an Arab leader
warned that the Tunisian revolt — fueled by Facebook and Twitter — could
spread throughout the Middle East.
Tunisia has been regarded as the most modern country in the Arab world.
The North African state attracted billions of dollars in investments by
European Union countries that sought to manufacture advanced products at
"It is on everyone's mind that the Arab individual is broken by poverty,
unemployment and a general slide in indicators," Mussa said. "This is in
addition to political problems that have not been resolved."
At this point, those leading the revolt in Tunisia have not been
identified with the Islamic opposition. Officials said this was
unprecedented as virtually all of the major opposition groups in the Arab world were linked
to the Muslim Brotherhood.
At the summit, Arab leaders acknowledged that their countries were
threatened by economic woes, but blamed these problems on global trends.
They cited unemployment, lack of decent housing and the rising price of
food. Some countries, such as Jordan and Syria, have already launched plans
to stabilize the price of fuel and food staples.
"We are not isolated from the world with its problems, challenges and
crises," Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said. "Employment and creating
employment opportunities will remain one of the most important challenges we