Dubai, Jan 15 (Agencies): Saudi Arabia has confirmed that it hosted toppled Tunisian President Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali and his family after they fled their country following a mass
uprising, an official statement has announced.
 
The statement from office of Saudi King Abdullah, released on the country's official news agency SPA, confirmed that Bin Ali arrived early today in the kingdom after fleeing Tunisia, ending several hours of mystery over his whereabouts.

"Out of concern for the exceptional circumstances facing the brotherly Tunisian people and in support of the security and stability of their country... the Saudi government has welcomed President Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali and his family to the kingdom," the statement said.
 
"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands totally alongside the brotherly Tunisian people and hopes that they will close ranks in order to overcome this difficult period in their
history," it added.
 
Bin Ali was driven from power after 23 years of iron-fisted rule by violent protests over soaring unemployment and corruption.Arabic media reports said that Bin Ali's plane had
landed overnight in Jeddah but his immediate destination was not yet known.
 
Bin Ali had signed a decree handing interim  presidential powers to Prime Minister Mohammad Ghannouchi before flying out of Tunis.
 
Rumors earlier suggested that Bin Ali was hoping to find exile in Malta or Italy while other reports suggested he would make his way to France.