Tunisia says ready to cooperate on immigration wave

Tunisia will not tolerate interference in its internal affairs, govt said.

Updated: Feb 14, 2011, 14:17 PM IST

Tunis: Tunisia is ready to cooperate with other governments to stem the flow of illegal immigrants heading to Europe but will not tolerate interference in its internal affairs, the government said on Monday.

The government in Rome has said that it wanted Italian police to be deployed to Tunisia after thousands of immigrants managed to reach its territory by sailing across the Mediterranean in recent days.

But in a statement, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry said that while it was "ready to cooperate" with other governments, it would not brook any "interference" in its own affairs.

Tunisia "categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs or any attack on its sovereignty," said the statement carried by the official TAP news agency.

Around 5,000 illegal immigrants have landed on the remote Italian island of Lampedusa in the last week, most of whom have fled Tunisia since the revolution there a month ago.

The wave of immigrants is expected to be one of the main items on the agenda on Monday when the European Union`s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton holds talks here with senior government officials.

Bureau Report