By Houda Mzioudet.
Tunis, 12, March 2015:
The Tunisian authorities have said that no Libyan consulate manned by officials from the Hassi regime . . .[restrict]in Tripoli will be allowed to open in Sfax.
Following Tunisia’s controversial decision to reopen its consulate on Tripoli, it has been reported that Hassi officials had arrived in the Tunisian port city to open a new consulate and that 15 other consular officials would be joining them shortly.
No consulate will open in Sfax to represent the Tripoli “government”, Chokri Letaief, an official in the media department of the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Libya Herald.
“It is not true,” he said, referring to reports of planned opening.
Earlier this month, the Tunisian authorities reopened their consulate in Tripoli but said that it implied no recognition of the Hassi regime and that the move had been made purely to look after the interests of the many thousands of Tunisians in the Libyan capital and surrounding area.
“This is about re-opening a consular office in Tripoli,” an official, said at the time.“ It has nothing to do with recognising the Tripoli or Tobruk governments at all”.
Allowing a Libyan consulate in Sfax controlled by the Hassi authorities would, however, send a signal of Tunisian acceptance of the Hassi regime, something that Tunis has made it clear it wants to avoid.
On the contrary, Touhami Abdouli, the Tunisian under-secretary for African and Arab affairs of Tunisian MOFA today met Mohamed Dairi, the Libyan Foreign Minister in the Thinni government, and discussed the results of the national dialogue round in Skhirat, Morocco, and expressed satisfaction with previous political dialogue sessions in Geneva and Ghadames and the latest in Algeria, a statement issued by Tunisian Foreign Ministry said today.
It has also been reported that a Hassi delegation planning to join the 20th meeting of the Steering Committee of the “5+5” Defence Initiative which started on Tuesday in Tunis was refused permission to enter the country.
The west Mediterranean 5+5 group comprises Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Malta, Italy France Spain and Portugal.