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EC President to visit Tunis Tuesday

Published the:  11/04/2011

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April 11, 2011 - TAP - President of the European Commission (EC) José Manuel Barroso is to pay, on Tuesday, a visit to Tunis during which he will meet the interim authorities, at the time when the issue of the Tunisian illegal immigrants is tearing apart the European Union (EU), French AFP News Agency quotes a European source in Tunis.
During his stay in Tunisia, Mr. Barroso is to confer with Interim President Foued Mebazaa, Interim Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi and Foreign Minister Mouldi Kéfi, this European source further specified on Monday.
The issue of illegal immigration, mainly from Tunisia to Italy, has strained these last few days relations within the EU.
The arrival of two more boats with 98 and 128 immigrants on board, during the Sunday-to-Monday night in Lampedusa, brought up the number of migrants on the small Italian island up to 1500, at a time when the European Interior Ministers are holding a meeting in Luxembourg precisely on this issue.
About one thousand among these immigrants are Tunisian, and they are to be repatriated by virtue of the agreement signed, last Tuesday, between Rome and Tunis. The other 500 are sub-Saharan Africans who had fled Libya.
In Luxembourg, where the EU Ministers are discussing the effects of the North African revolutions on immigration, Italy's FM Roberto Maroni asked from his counterparts that they lend him a helping hand in managing the migratory flow, but they refused.