By Nigel Ash
Tripoli, 16 August 2013:
Libya is to build a third border crossing into Tunisia, easing the intense pressure on congested . . .[restrict]Ras Jedir, which caused despairing shippers to open a maritime link between Tunis and Khoms.
Trade between Libya and Tunisia is worth some $6 billion a year, with the balance strongly in favour of the Tunisians.
The new crossing, at Mashhad Salih, is roughly equidistant between Ras Jedir on the coast and the second border post at Dehiba-Wazin , which is seen has been seen as too remote. A road already runs alongside the Tunisian side of the frontier . However a new road will have to be built to the new crossing from the Nalut-Tripoli highway.
Though people from Dehiba-Wazin had long dismissed the third frontier link as unnecessary, it is clear that they fear a fall-off in their own cross-border trade. There has been consistent lobbying particularly Tataouine and Zintan for the Mashad Salih project.
The new border post was apparently approved by the Council of Ministers some time ago; it is Resolution No 402 and the total of resolutions has now passed 440. It has however only now been announced.
It empowers the Ministry of Transport to set in train the planning and work on the new crossing. [/restrict]