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UPDATED:Tunisia says plans to reopen Syria consulate, invites Damascus envoy back

Reuters , Thursday 2 Apr 2015
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Tunisia said on Thursday it plans to reopen a consulate in Syria and offered to invite the Syrian ambassador back to Tunisia three years after severing diplomatic relations with Damascus.

That breakdown in ties came just a year after Tunisia's own uprising to oust autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali started the Arab Spring revolts.

"We will not have an ambassador there, but Tunisia will open a consulate or put in place a charge d'affaires, and a Syria ambassador is welcome to Tunisia, if Syria wishes so," Foreign Minister Taieb Bakouch told reporters. He gave no dates for this. without giving a date for the moves.

The minister said a consular presence in Syria would help Tunisia glean information on the 3,000 Tunisians who have left to fight for Islamist extremists in Iraq and Syria and who officials fear will return to carry out attacks at home.

Two Tunisian militants, who had been trained in neighbouring Libya, stormed the Tunis Bardo museum last month and shot 21 foreign tourists in one of the North African country's worst such attacks.

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