US News Tunisia: a repatriation ferry to France

22:45  04 june  2020
22:45  04 june  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Photo prise le 4 juin 2020 au port de La Goulette, à Tunis, montrant des gens embarquer à bord d'un ferry à destination de Marseille, dans le sud de la France © FETHI BELAID Photo taken on June 4, 2020 at the port of La Goulette, in Tunis, showing people boarding a ferry bound for Marseille, in the south of France

A ferry carrying a thousand people residing in France left Tunis on Thursday for Marseille, the second since March 13 and the border closings in Tunisia, where a few hundred people are still stranded, according to the French ambassador.

"We will go back to resume our activities, go back to work, to school for children", rejoiced Ahlem, who works in a bank in Nice in the south of France.

"We came for a vacation, and we got stuck because there was no more theft," explains this Franco-Tunisian, who will have to take 14 days off to respect quarantine when she arrives in France.

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Aymen Ksiba is relieved to "come back after 3 months of unemployment". Physiotherapist in Lyon, installed in France for 18 months, he came to Tunisia in early March and was due to leave on March 16. "It's time to come back and resume my job," he says.

The "Danielle Casanova", from the private company Corsica Linea, which had already provided the first maritime connection between Algiers and France at the start of the week since March 19, embarked on Thursday in Tunis 1,033 people and 263 vehicles.

The police intercepted a stowaway who was trying to hide under the back seat of a car.

After the last ferry on March 13 and the border closed on the 15th, a first boat had transported 500 passengers at the end of May. Tunis announced the reopening of its borders on June 27, in still unclear conditions.

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"This is the beginning of the recovery, we managed to send 20,000 people in very satisfactory conditions compared to other countries, like Morocco", welcomed the French Ambassador to Tunisia Olivier Poivre of Arvor.

More than 6,000 people left Algeria by special flights to France, according to the French Embassy in Algiers, and 30,000 French people from Morocco also returned by 200 special flights according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian.

In Tunisia, "there are only a few hundred people left, some of whom want to stay," said the ambassador, while stressing "it's not over".

He said that he was still waiting for the "exact measures" which will concern the French who want to spend holidays in Tunisia, the Tunisians from France who want to return to their country, or even the Tunisians who would like to spend a few days in France.

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