Tunisia and Greece launched joint military exercises this week in the Mediterranean to boost their coordination against illegal maritime activity including smuggling and irregular migration, the Tunisian defense ministry said Saturday.
“This exercise aims to develop cooperation between Tunisia and Greece in the fight against all dangers at sea, including illegal immigration (and) smuggling,” Defense Ministry spokesman Mohamed Zekri told AFP.
Another goal was to develop maritime surveillance and search-and-rescue operations, he said, adding that the exercises were held in international waters near the Tunisian coast.
Tunisia participated in the exercise with a special naval force and a patrol boat, while the Greek navy dispatched the frigate Salamis, the ministry had said in a statement Friday, without providing further details.
Tunisia, gripped by political and economic crises, sees migrants leave its coast every day in desperate bids to reach Europe.
The number of migrants attempting the journey peaked last year at its highest level since 2011, when an uprising toppled the North African country’s autocratic ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Tunisian authorities have repeatedly called for more cooperation between Mediterranean states to combat irregular migration.
Extremist kills self, baby in Tunisia suicide bombing following security operationsTunisian authorities said a female suicide bomber killed herself and her baby during counterterrorism operations in a mountainous zone in struggling ... North Africa
Tunisian activists demand Italy take back 282 illegal waste containersDozens of Tunisian activists protested in the port city of Sousse on Sunday to demand the return of nearly 300 containers of household waste illegally ... North Africa
At least 39 migrants die, 165 others rescued as two boats sink off TunisiaAt least 39 migrants died when two boats sank off Tunisia on Tuesday as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the ... North Africa
Greece accuses Turkey of trying to provoke it with migrant boatsGreece accused Turkey on Friday of trying to provoke it by attempting to push boats carrying migrants into Greek waters.Greece and Turkey disagree on ... World News
Turkey should ‘urgently’ resume accepting migrants from Greece: EUThe EU’s home affairs commissioner said on Monday that Turkey should “urgently” resume accepting hundreds of migrants from Greece, days before EU ... World News