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Move to ban Emirates stems from the airline’s refusal to let Tunisian women board its flights

By Standard Reporter | Published Mon, December 25th 2017 at 12:36, Updated December 25th 2017 at 14:47 GMT +3
Tunisia bans UAE airlines from landing in its territory. [Photo: Courtesy]

Tunisia has banned the Emirates airline from landing in the capital Tunis, after a number of Tunisian women were prevented from boarding its flights.

The move comes amid widespread anger in Tunisia, with rights groups condemning it as being racist and discriminatory.

The Ministry of Transport said the measure would stay in place until Emirates was able to operate flights in accordance with the law and international agreements.

The United Arab Emirates said "security information" had caused the delays.

"We contacted our Tunisian brothers about security information that required taking specific procedures," Emirati Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said via a Twitter post on Sunday.

"We highly value Tunisian women and respect them," he added.

Strained ties

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Tunisian government officials said the UAE had banned Tunisian women from flying to or transiting through its territory.

On Friday, the Tunisian government added that it had asked the UAE ambassador to clarify what was happening and had been told that the measures were temporary and had already been lifted.

According to AFP news agency, some Tunisian women said their journeys to the UAE had been delayed and some that their visas had to undergo additional examination.

Tunisia has been trying to improve relations with the UAE that were damaged by its 2011 revolution.

Tunisia's Ennahda party, part of the governing coalition also has links to Qatar, which have been cut off by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain over its alleged support for terrorism.

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