By Houda Mzioudet.
Tunis, 13 July 2015:
Officials in Tripoli have denied links to Libyan websites that recently posted threats to Tunisia over . . .[restrict]the construction of fence along the two countries’ border, according to Tunisian Deputy Minister for Arab and African and Arab Affairs Touhami Abdouli.
The Supreme Council of Revolutionaries in Tripoli has denounced the work as a “blatant attack on Libyan sovereignty” and an act of aggression.
Abdouli told Tunisian news agency TAP today that his Ministry of Foreign Affairs had contacted its Libyan counterpart in Tripoli to investigate the veracity of such threats and was told that such views were not the official position of the ministry. He added that Tunisia had not received any formal protest about the ditch project from either the powers in Tripoli or the internationally-recognised government in Beida.
That the Tripoli Ministry of Foreign Affairs would refute such threats is viewed as unsurprising given that they came from a non-government organisation.
Meanwhile, Tunisia’s three main unions – agriculture, industry and commerce – met last night in the border town of Ben Guerdane to discuss the barrier. They reiterated their support in fighting terrorism but rejected the building of a ditch and fence along the Libyan border.
A union official in the town told Tunisian Radio Tatouine that such a barrier had not proved successful in other countries fighting terrorism.
“This is a first in Tunisia and it will be failure in fighting terrorism. We asked the Tunisian authorities to immediately stop the works and open a serious dialogue to tackle problems of development in the region,” he said.
He believed that the project would only deepen the problems of marginalisation in the region and would further damage local people’s livelihoods.
Smuggling goods in and out of Libya, especially fuel, in a major revenue earner in the area. [/restrict]