The World Bank has temporarily suspended its future engagement talks with Tunisia amid uproar over recent statements by the country’s president against migrants.
The two sides have engaged in talks for providing Tunisia with loans up to $520 million.
In an internal message to staff, outgoing World Bank President David Malpass attributed the decision to recent statements about migrants by Tunisian President Kais Saied.
“Given the situation, management has decided to pause the Country Partnership Framework and withdraw it from Board review,” Malpass said in the message.
Last month, Saied called for ending the flow of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa into his country, saying irregular migration aims to change Tunisia’s demography.
The statements triggered tension between Tunisia and the African Union Commission with its chairperson terming Saied’s comments as “shocking”.
For years, North African countries such as Tunisia have witnessed attempts by migrants – mainly from sub-Saharan Africa – to reach Europe, hoping for a better life. While some of the migrants manage to reach their destination, others often die during the journey.
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