Tunisia bans Emirates flights over UAE travel curbs on women

Tunisia has banned Emirates Airlines flights from Monday after United Arab Emirates imposed a travel ban on Tunisian women .

Tunisia’s transport ministry said the suspension of flights will continue “until the airline is able to find the appropriate solution to operate its flights in accordance with international law and agreements”.

The ministry did not elaborate on the reasons for the ban.

Tunisia’s action comes after a number of local women were prevented by Emirates Airlines from boarding its flights. The women said their travel to the Gulf state was delayed while others had to undergo additional examination of their visas.

Local media and rights groups called UAE’s measures “discriminatory and racist” and urged the Tunisian government to act.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Sunday that the delays were caused by “security information” that forced them to take specific procedures. The minister did not elaborate on the “security information”.

On Friday, when Tunisia sought clarification on this, the UAE ambassador said the decision was only in effect for a short amount of time and that the “restrictions” had been lifted.

Islamic party Al-Nahda that come to power in Tunisia after the 2011 revolution has strong ties with Qatar. Following this, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have isolated Qatar for terror links, a charge it denies. Tunisia had been trying to improve ties with the UAE when the latest row over security erupted.