By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 15 March 2014:
The main Libyan-Tunisian border crossing at Ras Jedir, closed a week ago, will reopen tomorrow at . . .[restrict]7.30 am from both the Tunisian and the Libyan sides, Colonel Mohamed Jarrafa, head of security omn the Libyan side has told the Libya Herald.
The border crossing closed following yet another dispute resulting in low level attacks on Libyans crossing into Tunisia. This time the dispute was between a Libyan driver and a Tunisian trader from the Tunisian border town of Ben Guerdane. Libyan authorities decided closed the crossing demanding greater security for Libyan citizens travelling to Tunisia, particularly in the border area with Tunisia, Riad Dabab, an insurance company official working in the Ras Jedir border crossing explained to the Libya Herald.
Tunisian border towns such Ben Guerdane and Medenine depend almost entirely on cross-border trade, Dabbab explained.
“A Tunisian friend of mine from Medenine who works in currency exchange trade in Medenine called me yesterday crying that his only livelihood suffered from this closure,” Dabab added.
Smuggling is also a major element in the local economy, and crackdowns and arrests by Libyan officials of Tunisian smugglers often result in attacks by locals on Libyan vehicles passing through.
A meeting between the Libyan head of Ras Jedir border crossing security Jarrafa, the governor of Medenine and the chief of the district of Ben Guerdane in Tunisia took place this morning and resulted in the agreement to reopen the crossing, Jarrafa said. There were guarantees had given by from both sides “for the safety of Tunisian and Libyan citizens travelling to Tunisia and Libya,” he added.
The border of town of Ben Guerdane saw violent clashes between local vendors and security forces last Tuesday, which left two security forces injured. They were angry with at Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa for pledging to stop informal trade between Tunisia and Libya. He visited Ben Guerdane on 9 March. [/restrict]