Home » Ok to Naval Mission With Agreement From Tunisia – Borrell
Military News Tunis Tunisia

Ok to Naval Mission With Agreement From Tunisia – Borrell

(ANSA) – ROME, OCT 6 – European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said on Friday he is “ready to consider” the option of launching an anti-trafficking naval mission as part of efforts to combat irregular migration to the bloc.

 “We need to think about external border control not only in the Mediterranean but also in the Sahel,” said Borrell, arriving at the third meeting of the European Political Community in Granada, Spain.

“It is a difficult task, but I am ready to consider this option,” he continued.

“People flee because they have to, or for better opportunities, and the EU must have a common position” on the issue, insisted Borrell.

The high representative said he supported the idea of using “our Common Security and Defence Policy naval or land-based missions to combat traffickers”.

“However, in order to do this, agreement from Tunisia is required,” added Borrell, citing the EUNAVFOR MED IRINI mission launched in March 2020 to enfore the UN arms embargo against Libya.

“If we now have to move to another territory, it can be done, but we definitely need the agreement of that country,” Borrell explained, also opening to the possibility of sending EU staff to the southern borders of North African countries to advise local authorities there.

There are two ways to work with Tunisia, Borrell said.

“One is the Memorandum and the other is the EU-Tunisia Association Council, which I chair.

“I will convene a meeting of the Council before the end of the year, this is the place where we discuss with Tunisia how to cooperate on everything, including migration,” he added.

Borrell’s comments came after Tunisian President Kais Saied on Tuesday rejected 60 million euro in budget support from the EU unlinked to the EU-Tunisia memorandum of understanding signed in July, describing the disbursement as “charity” on grounds it “contradicts the memorandum of understanding signed in Tunis in the spirit that prevailed at the Rome conference last July”.

The reference is to an international conference on migration and development organised by the Italian government in Rome to launch a “dialogue of equals” between countries on both shores of the Mediterranean and further afield.

“Tunisia, which accepts cooperation, does not accept anything resembling charity or favour, because our country and our people do not want sympathy and do not accept it when it is without respect,” said Saied, according to a press release.

The president reiterated his position again on Friday during a meeting with Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar at the presidential palace.

“Tunisia stands firm in its sovereignty and will not give in to pressure because state sovereignty takes precedence over any other consideration,” said Saied, according to a press release.   

“Our country will deal with its partners on an equal footing within a framework of mutual respect,” he added.

Source: ANSA