April 29, 2011 / 2:31 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Tunisia summons Libyan envoy over incursions

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CAIRO, April 29 (Reuters) - Tunisia summoned Libya’s ambassador on Friday to protest against border incursions by Libyan forces pursuing rebels, a senior Tunisian official said.

Tunisian deputy foreign minister Radhouane Nouicer, speaking on Al Jazeera television, warned that Tunisia retained the right to take any necessary measure to protect its citizens following casualties at the border, which included a young girl.

“We summoned the Libyan envoy and gave him a strong protest... because we won’t tolerate any repetition of such violations... Tunisian soil is a red line and no one is allowed to breach it,” he said.

He said it was the third time that the border had been breached in the past 10 days. “We are still waiting for Libyan pledges to be implemented on the ground, and (to see) a Libyan commitment at the highest level to stop these breaches.

“We don’t want Tunisia to be forced to take measures to protect its territories and the sanctity of its soil and the safety of its citizens,” he added.

Nouicer said Tunisia had been disarming anyone entering its territory from Libya and giving them the option to return home.

“We are not a party to the conflict,” he said.

“We retain our right to take any measures and steps that may be necessary, at any given time and within the international legitimacy. We have asked the Tunisian ambassador in Tripoli to convey the same message to the Libyan authorities.”

Writing by Sami Aboudi; editing by Mark Heinrich

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