A handout photo made available by the Tunisian Presidency Press Service shows Tunisian President Kais Saied meeting with Italian Interior minister Luciana Lamorgese at the Carthage Palace in Tunis | PHOTO: EPA/TUNISIAN PRESIDENCY PRESS SERVICE
A handout photo made available by the Tunisian Presidency Press Service shows Tunisian President Kais Saied meeting with Italian Interior minister Luciana Lamorgese at the Carthage Palace in Tunis | PHOTO: EPA/TUNISIAN PRESIDENCY PRESS SERVICE

Tunisian President Kaies Saied and Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese met on July 27 in Tunis to discuss the control of migration flows. Lamorgese expressed strong concern for an increase of arrivals from the North African country during the meeting, interior ministry sources said.

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese on July 27 expressed ''strong Italian concern'' for an increase in arrivals by sea from Tunisia. Lamorgese was speaking at a meeting in Tunis with Kais Saied, the president of the North African country.


11,191 migrants landed in Italy in 2020 as of July 24. Almost half, 5,237, hailed from Tunisia, according to official data. They included nearly 4,000 Tunisian nationals. 

Italian interior ministry sources spoke about an ''uncontrolled flow'' of migrants creating ''serious problems for national health security that inevitably affect local communities around hosting centers from which, among other things, Tunisian migrants in particular try to escape before the end of the mandatory quarantine period'' to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Lamorgese stressed that "Tunisia's action is key", according to the sources familiar with the talks. President Saied "reassured that controls at maritime borders would be intensified to fight the activity of migrant traffickers," the sources said. 

Italy ready to support Tunisia

Italy is "ready to offer full support to Tunisia also through more effective forms of collaboration in surveillance activities regarding traffickers' boats departing from the African coast", the interior ministry said. 

The Italian side also confirmed that "Tunisia can always count on our country's confidence, even in an economic context rendered difficult by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus'', the sources said. 

Lamorgese stressed the "particular attention with which developments of the ongoing political crisis in the country are being followed in Italy," speaking about "solid bilateral relations". She expressed the hope that Tunisia can "soon leave this difficult situation in order to deal with the relevant socio-economic challenges on the horizon for the Tunisian people," the sources said. 

Lamorgese expressed the ''intention of supporting interventions and investments to accelerate economic recovery in Tunisia." Lamorgese also met with Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi. 

Irregular immigration is a humanitarian issue, Saied 

The Tunisian presidency confirmed in a statement that Italy will continue to support Tunisia, offering all the assistance it needs. President Kais Saied highlighted the strong relations between Tunisia and Italy and the importance of further boosting them, based on common interests. 

The president also spoke about the need to join efforts to find an adequate solution to deal with illegal migration, noting that security solutions are not enough. 

llegal immigration is first and foremost an humanitarian issue and its causes should be understood, according to Saied. "It is everybody's responsibility to enable the survival of migrants in their countries and the solution to the phenomenon consists in the cooperation among various countries," Saied concluded in the statement. 
 

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