'Illegal immigration like terrorism -Tunisian premier

Mechichi's statements during visit to France criticized

16 December, 17:35

    Tunisian Premier Hichem Mechichi Tunisian Premier Hichem Mechichi

    TUNIS - Statements made by Tunisian Premier Hichem Mechichi on irregular immigration in an interview to French broadcaster France 24 have sparked an uproar in Tunisia. The Tunisian premier said that the country is willing to take back Tunisians ''threatened of expulsion by France'' over their alleged ties to ''radical Islamism'', adding that all Tunisians illegally present on French territory, or who ''represent a threat'' for France, should return ''home''. And Tunisia is able to work so that such a return does not represent a threat for the country, said Mechichi, stressing that the repatriation of these citizens will occur in good conditions, in the respect of human dignity and human rights.

    The premier then connected the phenomenon of illegal immigration to terrorism, declaring that ''those who say illegal immigration, say terrorism''. The statements are in contrast with the words of his cabinet chief, Moez Lidinallah Mokaddem who, during an interview to local radio Express Fm yesterday in which he commented Mechichi's visit to France, said that the dossier of illegal immigration should be discussed with a new approach that shouldn't only regard security so as to avoid new tragedies.

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