Tripoli_ Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba held talks today Thursday with President Kais Saied of Tunisia during which the two sides discussed the recent political developments in the two countries, and ways to develop and enhance cooperation between them in the security and economic fields, the office of the PM reported.
The issues of opening border crossings between the two countries and resuming the suspended air traffic were also discussed.
With no fanfare both sides said that they agreed to coordinate between the ministries of health and the interior in both countries to prepare a unified protocol for the return of land and air traffic as soon as possible.
The Dabaiba’s visit comes against the backdrop of what seemed to be a misunderstanding between the two countries as a result of statements made in August by the Libyan PM protesting Tunisian and Libyan media reports which said that hundreds of extremist elements in Libya are preparing to enter Tunisia to carry out acts of terrorism.
Dabaiba said in a speech that there were “10,000 terrorists entered Libya, especially from neighboring countries, in reference to Tunisia, adding that “the number of Libyans among them is on the fingers of one hand.”
Addressing the Tunisian authorities, Dabaiba said, “If Tunisia wants to build real and honest relations with us, the neighboring countries must be respected. We have become clever and aware of games of nations and we cannot accept the repetition of previous scenes, and we cannot accept that the Libyans are laughed at again.”
On his part, the Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Al-Jardi denied the media reports as such and said the decision by Tunisia to close borders and suspend air flights with Libya was motivated by health, not security.
The PM’s statements, however, provoked discontent of Tunisians, who expressed their denunciation of Dabaiba’s prejudice against their country and his attack on it, based on what was stated in media reports, at a time when no offense was issued by the official Tunisian authorities towards Libya.
On Wednesday, members of the Libyan House of Representatives pressed Dabaiba on his role in causing uncalled for tension with the neighboring Tunisia and demanded that relations between the two countries should always remain cordial.