Tunisian women barred from flying to UAE over security fears
Emirates has stopped all services between Dubai and Tunisia with effect from December 25.
Some Tunisian women were banned from boarding Emirates flights from Tunis to Dubai over security fears, a Tunisian government official has said. AFP quoted Saida Qarash, a spokesperson of the Tunisian Presidency, as telling a local radio channel that the UAE authorities had serious security information about the possibility of terrorist attacks.
The information indicated that with Tunisians returning from Syria and Iraq, there is “a possibility of a terrorist attack involving either Tunisian women or women carrying a Tunisian passport”, Qarash said, suggesting that they could be using false identities.
Tunisian media outlets quoted Qarash as saying that the UAE has its “own reasons for its decisions”. “But this did not prevent the Tunisian state from acting to protect the interests of its citizens in Tunisia or through its ambassador to the UAE.”
The move was a “sovereign decision of the UAE and doesn’t represent a crisis or a desire to harm relations between Tunisia and the UAE”, she said.
Meanwhile, Emirates has stopped all services between Dubai and Tunisia with effect from December 25 as instructed by Tunisian authorities, a spokesperson said.
In a statement sent to Khaleej Times, Emirates said: “As instructed by the Tunisian authorities, Emirates will stop all its services between Dubai and Tunisia starting from December 25 until further notice. Affected passengers are advised to contact their travel agent or booking office for assistance.”
According to international reports published on December 24, a number of Tunisian women were prevented from boarding its flights over several days.
However, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash said “security information” prompted the UAE’s move. He tweeted: “We contacted our brothers in Tunisia about security information that led to imposing of temporary specific procedures.
“In the UAE, we are proud of our experience of empowerment of women. We respect and appreciate the Tunisian women. Together we should avoid any inaccuracies,” he said.
According to a BBC report on Friday, the Tunisian government had asked the UAE ambassador to clarify what was happening. The government has reportedly been told that the measures were temporary and had already been lifted.
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