Italian Interior, Foreign Ministers expected in Tunisia to discuss migration issues

Italy’s Interior and Foreign Ministers are expected this Monday in Tunisia to raise the thorny issue of migration as waves of departures from the shores of the North African country are increasing.

Luciana Lamorgese and Luigi Di Maio’s visit, according to Italian media, highlights “Italy’s interest for a country that is facing challenges”. It also comes as the European country launches its expulsion campaign of Tunisian citizens deemed illegal.

Di Maio, early this month, told Italian media that Rome will expel 80 Tunisians every week part of the process. “We will expulse every Tunisian citizen who will enter Italy. For us, Tunisia is a safe country. It is not a country in war where there are persecutions,” the Italian top diplomat indicated adding that his country will open a dialogue with Tunisia on the migrants’ issue and on how to stem the arrivals of Tunisians.

“Our objective is to reach a new deal with Tunisia on migration and cooperation on development, helping it to offer more employment opportunities to its citizens,” Di Maio insisted. “Meanwhile, we expect maximum cooperation to arrest organizers of those trip.”

The visit will be Lamorgese’s second visit to the North African country. She met with President Kais Saied July 27 on the same issue of migration.

Over 4,100 Tunisians arrived in Italy last month after crossing the Mediterranean. Italy has used expulsions to flash out illegal Tunisian citizens over the past years.

In 2016, it deported 1,268 Tunisian migrants, 2,217 in 2017, and 1,739 the following year. Most expulsion operations were carried out by plane.

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