Tunisia allows boat migrants port access


Tunisia agreed to accept a boat carrying around 40 African migrants stranded for two weeks off the country’s coast after first allowing it to dock, the Red Crescent said.

Monji Slim, an official of the Tunisian Red Crescent, said the boat will arrive on Wednesday in the southern port of Zarzis.

Among the migrants are two pregnant women he said adding aid and food had been already delivered to the vessel.

The North African country first argued Malta or Italy should accept the migrants, according to the Red Crescent.

It was not clear where the migrants were from before they were rescued by the Tunisian vessel.

The new Italian government closed its ports to charity ships in the Mediterranean, saying the European Union must share the burden of accepting migrants plucked from waters each month, mostly off the Libyan coast.

Rome called last month for migrant centres to be set up in Africa to stop a tide of asylum-seekers fleeing toward western Europe. Tunisia rejected this proposal.

At least 80 migrants died when their boat sank off the Tunisian coast in June, one of the worst migrant boat accidents in the North African country in recent years.

Human traffickers increasingly use Tunisia as a springboard for migrants heading to Europe as the Libyan coast guard, aided by armed groups, tightens controls.