Tunisian President Qais Saeed has said that his country cannot play the role of Europe’s border guard to stop illegal refugees.
According to the news agency Reuters. On Saturday, the Tunisian president said this before the arrival of European leaders on a visit to his country.
The leaders of some European countries have expressed concern. Over the increasing influx of illegal refugees to the continent from the coast of Tunisia through the Mediterranean Sea.
On Friday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Maloney said she would offer aid during a visit to Tunisia. On Sunday with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Union Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. The Tunisian government is currently facing a financial crisis.
Credit rating agency Fitch
Credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Tunisia’s rating further on Friday. Citing the possibility of the country defaulting on its debt and deepening the state’s financial problems.
European countries fear that the financial collapse will lead to an increase in the exodus of refugees from Tunisia. Which has seen a surge in the first few months of this year.
An IMF rescue package for Tunisia has been stall for months as President Qais Said has reject the economic reforms required for a loan tranche.
Donor countries are pressing the Tunisian president to bring about reforms. While Italy has urged the IMF to finalise the loan.
Tunisian President Qais Saeed said on the occasion of his visit to the country’s coastal city of Sfax that “the solution will not be at the expense of Tunisia; we cannot play the role of a guard for their countries.”
The port and coast of the city of Sfax are considered important for refugees entering Europe illegally. From where thousands try to reach Italy by boat every year.
The number of people crossing the dangerous Mediterranean to Europe surged after Qais Saeed announced a crackdown on sub-Saharan migrants in February, using language the African Union described as racist.