By Moutaz Ali and Hadi Fornaji
Tripoli, 30 July 2014
The Tunisian government has said that in the present economic situation it is . . .[restrict]not prepared to accept any more refugees from Libya and that if the security saturation in Libya continues to deteriorate it may close the two border crossings other than for returning Tunisians
“Tunisia’s border with Libya may be closed if the situation in Libya gets worse,” the Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi, said yesterday.”Our absolute priority is the security and stability of Tunisia.”
He also said that he may close the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli.
Tunisians yesterday increased security at the Ras Jedir border post because of the massive influx of people crossing from Libya – mostly Libyans, according to the Tunisians news agency TAP, but also Tunisians and other nationalities. Hamdi put the figure of those crossing into Tunisia at between 5,000 to 6,000 a day, saying that numbers were increasing. It is the largest amount since the 2011 revolution.
According to TAP, in the twelve hours between Tuesday midnight and midday yesterday, three thousand crossed at the Ras Jadir border point.
Numbers have not been given for the southern Wazin-Dehiba crossing.
The large numbers of people crossing has resulted in long queues on the Libya side of the border at Ras Jedir.