By Libya Herald staff.
Tunis, 26 February 2015:
The head of the Beida-based Libyan government’s Information Authority, Omar Gawairi, has launched a media . . .[restrict]offensive in Tunisia amid fears that the Tunisian government’s commitment to the legitimacy of the internationally-recognised House of Representatives and the Thinni government could be weakening.
At the beginning of the week it said that was neutral on Libya, suggesting that there was an equivalence between the government of Abdullah Al-Thinni in Beida and the Libya Dawn authorities in Tripoli. Speaking last Sunday in Sousse, Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche said that Tunisia had adopted a “positive neutrality” in regard to Libya because there were two governments each claiming to represent the Libyan people. In the light of this, he added, Tunisia was looking at reopening its consulate in Tripoli and opening another in Tobruk, seat of the House of Representatives.
Since then, it has also been announced that Tunisian civil aviation authorities may travel to Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport to assess whether flights from there to Tunis should recommence. Buraq Air hopes to restart a service.
Speaking in Tunis yesterday and earlier to Tunisian media, Gawairi criticised Baccuche saying that there was no room to recognise two governments. There was, he was, a legitimate government in Beida following elections last year and, in Tripoli, a regime that had been put in power by men with guns. To talk of an equivalence between the legitimate government of Abdullah Al-Thinni and Libya Dawn’s Hassi regime was crossing a red line. He asked how the Tunisian government would feel if Libya decided to recognise both it and Islamic State terrorists operating in Tunisia’s Chanbi mountains and opened diplomatic relations with them as well as with Tunis.
There could be no de facto recognition of the Libya Dawn regime by Tunisia, he insisted.
Part of the problem, he claimed, was that the Tunisian media misunderstood the situation in Libya and therefore did not explain it properly. He had come to Tunisia, he said, to talk to the local press and explain to them what was going on in the country. He indicated an ongoing campaign to keep the Tunisian media informed of events in Libya would be maintained.
Speaking specifically to the Tunisian newspaper Al Maghreb, he also said that Tunisia had to take a more responsible position on Libya and on terrorism. There were, he claimed, 4,000 Tunisian terrorists now in Libya, indicating that they would eventually have objectives back home. The battle against the terrorists in the region was “indivisible” he said. It was one that all states had to fight together.
For its part, Tunisia says that the current chaos in Libya poses no threat to it. Speaking at a press conference today in Tunis, a Tunisian Defence Ministry spokesman said that the situation in the border region was now stable and that the army was able to prevent with any incursions. [/restrict]