France - Tunisia - 
Article published the Monday 14 February 2011 - Latest update : Monday 14 February 2011

France will not tolerate illegal Tunisian immigration, says minister

Illegal immigrants from Tunisia detained on the Italian island of Lampedusa, 13 February 2011
Reuters/Antonio Parinello

By RFI

French Industry Minister Eric Besson said Monday that France will not tolerate any illegal immigration from Tunisia. Speaking on French television, he said that some of the 5,000 Tunisians who have arrived in Italy this past week might be eligible for political asylum.

“There can be no tolerance for illegal immigration,” Besson, a former Immigration Minister, told Canal+ television.

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He said some Tunisians arriving in Italy might have asylum claims, but he said that each would be decided on a case by case basis.

“Those who have a right to asylum, those who believe they are threatened and who have the proof, will be able to stay in Europe, but everyone else will be sent back to their country,” he said.

Italy’s Foreign Minister said Monday that Italy was ready to help Tunisia with logistical and police help to curb illegal migration.

"Until now the system of patrolling the coasts of Northern African has worked and we want to re-establish the technique, which had reduced illegal immigration to zero until a month ago," he said as he arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus, the first stop in a tour of the region.

tags: France - Immigration - Italy - Tunisia
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