Tunisia suspends Emirates flights over women security measures
December 25 2017 12:07 AM
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AFP/Tunis

Tunisia suspended Emirates Airlines flights after a public outcry over security measures in the United Arab Emirates targeting women from the North African country.

The transport ministry said it had "decided to suspend" Emirates flights to Tunis "until the airline is able to find the appropriate solution to operate its flights in accordance with international law and agreements".

A number of Tunisian women had said their travel to the Gulf state on UAE airlines had been delayed and some had been forced to undergo additional examination of their visas.

That triggered angry reactions on social media and media outlets in Tunisia.

The United Arab Emirates said that "security information" had caused the delays on Tunisian women from boarding flights to the Gulf state.

"We contacted our Tunisian brothers about security information that necessitated taking specific procedures," UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.

"We should avoid misleading attempts...We highly value Tunisian women and respect them," he said, without elaborating.

The Tunisian government said on Friday it had asked the UAE ambassador for clarification, adding the envoy said the decision was for only a short period and the restrictions had been lifted.

Despite the clarification, Tunisian rights groups issued a statement on Saturday condemning the UAE measures as "discriminatory and racist".

In a statement on Sunday night, Emirates said it will stop services between Tunis and Dubai, as instructed by the Tunisian authorities, with effect from December 25.

Tunisia has been trying to repair diplomatic ties with the UAE damaged by its 2011 revolution and after the Al-Nahda party came to power in the North African country.



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