Tunisia suspended flights by Emirates airlines after a public outcry over security measures in the United Arab Emirates targeting women from the north African country.
The transport ministry said it has suspended Emirates flights to Tunis until the airline finds the appropriate solution to operate flights “in accordance with international law and agreements”.
A number of Tunisian women said their travel to the Gulf state on Emirates had been delayed and some had been forced to undergo additional examination of their visas.
That triggered angry reactions on social media and media outlets in Tunisia.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE foreign minister, said on Twitter: “We contacted our Tunisian brothers about security information that necessitated taking specific procedures.
“We should avoid misleading attempts … We highly value Tunisian women and respect them,” he added, without elaborating.
On Friday, Tunisia asked the UAE ambassador for clarification, the envoy saying the decision was for only a short period and the restrictions had been lifted.
Despite the clarification, Tunisian rights groups condemned the measures as “discriminatory and racist”.
Tunisia has been trying to repair diplomatic ties with the UAE, which were damaged by its 2011 revolution and after the Islamic party al-Nahda, which has strong links with Qatar, came to power in the north African country.
Relations between Qatar on one hand and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on the other have been severed since June after the four Arab countries accused Doha of backing terror groups in the region, a charge denied by Qatar.
Credit: The Guardian