Daily Archives: July 23, 2018

Migrants Stranded Without Aid as Tunisia Refuses to Let Ship Dock

A Tunisian boat carrying around 40 African migrants has been stranded off the country’s coast without aid for more than a week after authorities refused to let them disembark there, the Red Crescent said on Monday.

Monji Slim, an official of the Tunisian Red Crescent, said the authorities had argued that Malta or Italy should accept the migrants. The Tunisian interior ministry declined to comment.

Slim told reporter the boat was stuck 12 miles off the coast.

“The African migrants at sea are in a bad condition after the vessel’s captain refused to receive aid to pressure the Tunisian authorities to receive them, but no solution has been reached after 11 days at sea.”

It was not clear from where the migrants had originally set off before they were rescued by the Tunisian vessel.

The new Italian government has closed its ports to charity ships operating in the Mediterranean, saying the European Union must share the burden of accepting the hundreds of migrants who are plucked from waters each month, mostly off the Libyan coast.

Rome called this month for migrant centers to be set up in Africa to stop a tide of asylum-seekers fleeing toward western Europe. Tunisia has rejected this proposal.

At least 80 migrants died when their boat sank off the Tunisian coast last month, one of the worst migrant boat accidents in the North African country of recent years.

Human traffickers are increasingly using Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe as the Libyan coast guard, aided by armed groups, has tightened controls.

Source: Voice of America


TUNIS– Tunisia has officially become the 20th member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), after signing the Treaty of Accession of Tunisia to COMESA during the Summit of Heads of State and Government of COMESA member countries, in Lusaka, Zambia, last week.

Tunisian Foreign Affairs Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui ratified the treaty in his capacity as representative of President Beji Caid Essebsi, with Trade Minister Omar El Behi also present.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry here Sunday, Jhinaoui emphasized in a speech he read out on behalf of the Head of State, the will of Tunisia entrenched in its African depth and keenness to develop complementarity, solidarity and integration to contribute efficiently to boost the action of this important regional group, to give it more influence and to devote the path of partnership and economic and commercial co-operation among the member countries, as part of mutual interest.

The accession of the country to COMESA represents a promising opportunity for the public and private sectors, investors and the heads of industrial and financial companies, for the achievement of partnerships with their counterparts in the rest of the member countries of this important economic group.

The latter is an important market for many Tunisian products and companies active in the fields of basic infrastructure, ICT, education and higher education, vocational training, health, food industries, engineering, accounting and finance

Tunisia completes with its COMESA membership, the efforts made since January 2016, by the authorities to join this economic grouping which has covers nearly 625 million inhabitants.