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Interim President receives UN High Commissioner for Refugees and IOM Director-General

Published the:  09/03/2011

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March 9, 2011 TAP - Interim President Foued Mebazaa received, on Wednesday March 9, 2011, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guetteres and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director-General William Lacy Swing.
International support for Tunisia to cope with the flow of refugees from Libya, the consideration expressed by all countries of the world to the Revolution for freedom and dignity and democratic transition in Tunisia were the focal points of the meeting.
In a statement to TAP News Agency after the meeting, UNHCR High Commissioner said "in an immigrants' crisis, the most important form of solidarity is to open borders, and that is what Tunisia has done and in an extremely generous way," adding that "the international community need to show the same solidarity with Tunisia, to help it succeed in its transition period".
He launched, in this regard, a "very strong" call to UNHCR member countries to help repatriate all refugees arriving in Tunisia and find countries for asylum for those who would not have the chance to return to their homelands, particularly Somalis and Eritreans, because of war and political persecution.
He noted that developed countries should show their solidarity and help those persons regain hope.
Mr. Antonio Guetteres said in conclusion that "every one is focusing on the success of the Tunisian democratic transition experience and it is important to provide it the needed support, the way developed countries had done for Portugal during "the Carnation Revolution," so as to reward the wonderful hospitality of Tunisia which has hosted in such a generous way all persons fleeing Libya."
For his part, Mr. William Lacy Swing said that he had expressed "most importantly, appreciation and admiration for the Tunisian people and government for all efforts exerted to host thousands of persons who crossed the Libyan border, and for the assistance offered to them before they return home".
He also pointed out that the meeting was an opportunity to discuss further steps taken to continue unblocking the border region and anticipating the contingents of people who might arrive, in order to evacuate and repatriate them.
IOM director-general added that emphasis was also placed on the "importance of identifying suitable ways to further help and support the country's efforts to reinstate the large number of Tunisians who came back from Libya".