Emirates Airline has suspended flights from Dubai to Tunis in a row between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Tunisia over the carriage of Tunisian women.

According to media reports, several Tunisian women were barred from traveling to Dubai from Tunis on Emirates flights shortly before Christmas, a decision that caused anger in the North African state.

A brief Dec. 24 announcement on the Tunisian transport ministry’s website said Emirates had been ordered to suspend its daily flight to Tunis “until the latter finds the appropriate solution and operates in accordance with the regulations and international conventions.”

Further media coverage in the UAE said the Gulf nation’s authorities had taken their action in the light of intelligence reports. UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash reportedly said in Arabic on Twitter: “We contacted our Tunisian brothers about security information that necessitated taking specific procedures. We highly value Tunisian women and respect them.”

Asked if the decision to bar Tunisian women from the daily Tunis-Dubai flight was taken on security grounds, an Emirates spokeswoman told ATW Jan. 2: “That’s what the UAE authorities have stated. We can’t actually comment on that.”

The flights remained suspended as of Jan. 2, she said.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com