Tunisia, Libya reach deal on Ras Jedir border trade

Tunisian and Libyan parties on Tuesday reached a deal to resume vital trade through the Ras Jedir crossing point after a week of unrest, a source close to the negotiations told  media.

Flow of goods via Ras Jedir border crossing will resume as of January 22 pending the resolution of the computer system issue at the border crossing from the Libyan side, as was agreed at a security meeting held on Tuesday at the Ras Jedir crossing border between senior Tunisian and Libyan officials, Governor of Medenine Tahar Matmati told media.

It was also decided to reactivate provisions agreed on in the previous Tunisian-Libyan meeting held in May 2016 under the chairmanship of the governor (Tunisian side) concerning the training of a joint commission for monitoring the situation at the crossing point and authorising passenger cars to transport a limited quantity of goods.

Ras Jedir is the main crossing between western Libya and southeastern Tunisia, a region largely dependent on cross-border trade, both legal and illegal.

For around a week, social unrest has rocked the Tunisian border town of Ben Guerdane, with demonstrators demanding the free flow of trade through the frontier.

On Tuesday, protesters were still blocking the road from Ras Jedir to Ben Guerdane, where calm had returned after the clashes between demonstrators and the police.

A previous deal for a new customs system was signed in May 2016 after a previous wave of unrest over paralysed trade at the border, but was never implemented.

Tensions have been high in recent months, with a part of the population accusing the authorities of ignoring their plight.



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