Less Than One Year After Staff Abducted, Tunisia to Reopen its Consulate in Tripoli

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Following the arrival in Tripoli of the Libyan Presidency Council last week Tunisia became the first country to announce on Monday, April 4, that it would reopen its consulate in the Libyan capital. The Libyan Presidency Council, tasked with forming a and ┬áheaded by prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj arrived in Tripoli from Tunisia by sea on Wednesday March 30. Serraj arrived by ship after the , one of Libya's rival governments created by the Islamist Farj Libya, closed Tripoli's airspace and threatened the Presidency Council's members with arrest if it attempted to enter Tripoli. The said the decision was taken in the "context of ongoing concern for the care of the interests of Tunisians living in Libya and [to] contribute to the development of cooperation between the two countries at various levels." Tunisia's diplomatic mission was closed in June of last year after its staff was abducted following the arrest in Tunis of a member of Farj Libya, Walid Kalib, in Tunisia on kidnapping charges. Kalib was released in June of 2015 and shortly thereafter the release of Tunisia's consular staff was obtained. Tunisia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the incident a "blatant attack on Tunisian national sovereignty and a flagrant violation of international laws" adding "Our advice to all Tunisians is leave Libya and return immediately. We cannot again be subject to any blackmail." ┬áTunisia was the last remaining foreign diplomatic mission in Tripoli. On Tuesday, April 5, France announced it would join Tunisia in reestablishing a diplomatic presence in Tripoli.