The Tunisian foreign ministry expressed “great surprise” at statements made by Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, who accused the North African state of exporting “convicted criminals” to his country.
The ministry said in a statement that it had summoned the Italian ambassador to protest Salvini’s statements.
Salvini said during a local election campaign in Sicily on Sunday that “Tunisia is a free and democratic country, but it does not export gentlemen, only convicts.
The Tunisian foreign ministry said in its statement that Salvini’s remarks “reflect lack of knowledge about the various coordination mechanisms between the Tunisian and Italian authorities to address the migration issues.”
“The Italian ambassador contacted the Tunisian foreign ministry to explain that Salvini has asked him to inform the Tunisian authorities that his statements were taken out of context, and that he is keen to support cooperation with Tunisia,” the statement added.