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Libya fully reopens Ras Ijdir border crossing with Tunisia

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Libya’s interior minister in Tripoli said the major border crossing at Ras Ijdir with Tunisia was fully reopened on Monday three months after being shut due to armed clashes.

A number of ambulances from the Libyan side were seen heading into Tunisia during the reopening ceremony attended by the interior minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity, Emad Trabulsi, and his Tunisian counterpart Khaled Nouri.

“Two hours after this ceremony, Libyan citizens will be able to go to Tunisia,” Trabulsi told journalists at the crossing.

Nouri said the crossing had been “reopened for all activities except smuggling”.

During a press conference in Ras Jedir on Monday, Tunisian Interior Minister Khaled Nouri expressed hope that the reopening “will have a positive impact on the populations of the neighbouring regions”.

Ras Ijdir is the main frontier crossing in Libya’s west, often used by Libyans to go to Tunisia for medical treatment and Tunisian traders moving goods in the opposite direction.

The border crossing was closed on March 19 with Libyan authorities vowing to “ensure the security of the borders and combat crime and smuggling”.

After calm returned to the region, the border crossing was partially reopened in mid-June though just for humanitarian and medical cases as well as special cases with permits from the Tunisian and Algerian interior ministries.

Trabulsi called on Libyans living near the western border to support regional security forces “in order to combat smuggling and illegal migration”.

He said Libya would open two new border crossings with Tunisia “if capabilities are provided”.

Besides Ras Ijdir, the two countries have a minor crossing at Wazen-Dhehiba that has remained open.

(With input from agencies)

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