UK wants to review Tunisia travel warning: envoy

14th July 2015, Comments 0 comments

Britain wants to review its travel advisory on Tunisia "as soon as possible", after urging its tourists to leave over fears of another deadly attack, London's ambassador said Tuesday.

After a jihadist murdered 38 tourists -- including 30 Britons -- at a beach resort north of Sousse on June 26, British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to his Tunisian counterpart Habib Essid.

Cameron "clearly said that we want to review this advice to travellers as soon as possible", Ambassador Hamish Cowell told privately run Shems FM radio.

"For that reason, we are working closely with the Tunisian authorities on implementing all the necessary security measures.

"They have already made a great effort and we are seeing with these authorities what can be done to review this advice," Cowell added.

On Thursday, the foreign office in London changed its travel advice for Tunisia to advise against all but essential travel.

It put this decision down to "the evolving security situation since the attack".

Cowell said the Foreign Office decision had not been "hasty... Rather an objective and thorough assessment of the state of the threat. It was found that there is a high threat, especially to foreigners."

The Tunisian government said it regretted the decision but at the same time understood it because of the "terrorist threat".

Essid said Tunisia had done "everything possible" to protect foreign interests.

Cowell told Shems FM many security issues were being explored, including "protection measures in tourist areas" and "controlling the border with Libya".

After the attack, Tunis said it was deploying another 1,000 members of the security forces in tourist areas.

Cowell said London has "made an assessment of additional security measures that will be needed in this new situation".

After reactions, especially in the media, attributing Britain's decision to disagreements over the investigation, Cowell insisted that cooperation between London and Tunis was "very good".

"We have a police team here to work with the Tunisian police on the investigation, and it's going very well with excellent cooperation between them," he said.

"There is a great mobilisation now in London and elsewhere to help Tunisia, in both security and economic matters," Cowell added.

Last month's attack at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port El Kantaoui was the worst in the history of Tunisia and a heavy blow to its tourism, already affected by the instability that followed the 2011 revolution.


© 2015 AFP

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