By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 6 August 2014:
As foreigners continue to stream out of Libya, the border crossings in both the east . . .[restrict]and the west of the country have been inundated with Egyptians fleeing the country.
Nearly 50,000 Egyptians have passed through the Salloum crossing on the Libyan-Egyptian border in the last month, at a rate of approximately 4,000 per day.
On the other side of the country, thousands of Egyptians have passed through the Ras Jedir crossing on the Libyan-Tunisian border, many finding themselves stranded there.
The numbers are still relatively low compared to the total number of Egyptians in Libya. The figure is put at between one and a half and two million.
Many of the Egyptians trying to enter Tunisia do not have the proper documentation, having entered Libya illegally in the first place. Others cannot afford the fees charged at the crossing. Once they have crossed, they have waited days, sometimes without food, for flights to Egypt.
Things are starting to improve for Egyptians stuck at the Tunisian border, and the evacuation operation is starting to run more smoothly. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was in Tunisia on Monday to meet with Tunisian Prime Minister Mahdy Gomaa and to discuss the situation of Egyptian evacuees there.
His visit resulted in a decision that Egyptians are exempt from border crossing fees. An agreement was also made that Gabes Airport would be used as well as Djerba for flights taking Egyptians back to Cairo. It was announced that nine flights would take off from the two airports on Tuesday and Wednesday, evacuating around 2,300 people.
As of yesterday morning, 3,091 had already been airlifted from Tunisia. EgyptAir is providing these flights free of charge. However it is seen as taking too long and Shoukry, who visited Egyptians at Ras Jedir and Djerba, indicated that shipping Egyptians out of Tunisia and Libya was being considered.
Upon his return to the Cairo airport today, Shoukry held a press conference and announced that all Egyptians would be evacuated from Tunisia within the following 48 hours.
Also, it was announced yesterday that a ship owned by the Egyptian Ministry of Transport, Aida 4, had sailed from Alexandria to Djerba today to transport 300 Egyptians from Tunisia to Egypt.
On Monday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi sent an aid shipment of 5,000 tonnes of food and medical supplies to Egyptians stranded at the Tunisian border. Furthermore, the Tunisian Red Crescent distributed aid to them as well.
Meanwhile, the Tunisian authorities have announced that large numbers of Moroccans are now arriving at Ras Jadir from Libya. [/restrict]