France will not follow Britain in urging tourists to leave Tunisia

10th July 2015, Comments 0 comments

The French foreign ministry said Friday it was not planning to follow Britain in urging its nationals not to go on holiday to Tunisia after a beach massacre last month.

"Our 'advice to travellers' underlines the terrorist risk in Tunisia and the ongoing threat from jihadist terrorist groups," foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal told journalists.

"It recommends that French citizens be particularly vigilant. Several regions of the country bordering Algeria and Libya are formally discouraged," he added.

Nadal said the advice was based on an analysis of security threats and the measures taken by the Tunisian government to deal with them.

"Aside from Britain and Belgium, our main partners are not discouraging, for the moment, general trips to Tunisia," he said, naming Germany, Spain, Italy and the United States.

Nadal said the situation was being constantly evaluated.

A diplomatic source said that a meeting of security experts was planned in Tunis next week, including members of the G7, Spain and Belgium, to help Tunisia reinforce its capacity to protect sensitive sites, including tourist sites.

The British Foreign Office on Thursday advised its nationals to leave Tunisia, saying local authorities were not able to provide "adequate protection" after a jihadist gunman killed 38 foreign tourists, 30 of them Britons, at the beach resort of Port El Kantaoui on June 26.

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid told a late-night session of parliament that the guidance would "have repercussions" for Britain although he did not say what they might be.

"We will ring the British prime minister to tell him we have done everything we can to protect all British interests and those of others countries -- that's our duty," Essid said.

"Britain is free to take whatever decision it likes -- it's a sovereign country -- but we too are a sovereign country and we have a position to take."

© 2015 AFP

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