Tunisia refuses "any interference in its internal affairs," while expressing "its readiness to cooperate" with other countries to stem the exodus of illegal immigrants to Europe Tunisian. Approximately 5,000 Tunisians arrived in recent days on the island of Lampedusa, Italy, fleeing the insecurity and uncertainty in their country. In an attempt to stem this exodus, which caused a crisis between Rome and Tunis, the chief of European diplomacy, Catherine Ashton, visited Tunis on Monday morning. In particular it must hold talks with Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, and the team set up to carry out political reform.
Rome, which fears a humanitarian crisis, called Sunday a "urgent intervention of the EU", accused of doing nothing by the Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni. His proposal to send in Tunisia to Italian police combat illegal immmigration provoked anger in Tunis.
Tunis rejects "any interference in its internal affairs"
On Monday, he reiterated his offer more diplomatically: "The Italian Government's intention is to offer assistance to the Tunisian police in sending our forces are able to control the coast, the only way to prevent the departure" of illegal immigrants. "Today, there is no longer a security system in Tunisia and we are willing to lend a hand, providing media, celebrities, 4X4," said the minister.
Tunis has again flatly rejected "any interference in its internal affairs," while expressing "its readiness to cooperate" with other countries to stem the exodus of illegal immigrants to Europe Tunisian.
Besson discouraged illegal immigrants from crossing the Mediterranean
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs has planned to assess the situation on the ground, while the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also has to make a lightning visit to Tunis in the afternoon. The case also raises reactions in France. Eric Besson, Minister of Industry, warned that there would be no tolerance "for illegal immigration." He has discouraged illegal immigrants from crossing the Mediterranean: "Do not do that. Do not do it because you put your life in danger and do not do it because the entry into Europe, unlike what you think, is not automatic, "he added.
NGOs, Migreurop and France Terre d'Asile (FTA), for their part, asked the Italian authorities to give support and protection to thousands of illegal Tunisians arrived in five days on the island of Lampedusa.
February 8, Ashton had offered to Tunisia with the Union to combat corruption and adopt more transparent governments. There, she must assess the assistance that the EU can bring the country to boost economic activity. The EU currently grants to Tunisia from 80 to 90 million euros per year in grants, support any proposed increase. The EU is also ready to give the country an "advanced status", already awarded in Morocco, which would allow it to benefit from preferential tariffs on the European market.