By Talia Avakian
December 26, 2017
Photo by Krafft Angerer/Getty Images

Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has been banned from operating flights to and from Tunisia after officials there said the airline stopped some women with Tunisian passports from boarding its flights starting last Friday.

Tunisia's Ministry of Transport said in an announcement on Sunday that the temporary ban on the Middle East's largest carrier would be in place until Emirates officials could "find a situation to operate its flights in accordance with international laws and treaties.”

Emirates also announced on Sunday that it would stop its Dubai-Tunis connection starting on Monday, Dec. 25, following instructions from Tunisian officials. 

Security officials in the United Arab Emirates instituted a ban on women traveling with Tunisia passports last Friday after receiving reports that Tunisian women, or women with Tunisian passports, were planning terrorist attacks, Saida Garrach, a spokeswoman for Tunisia's president, said in an interview with Shems FM Radio, according to the AP. 

Tunisia's government called the ban illegal, with Garrach telling Shems FM Radio that while officials understood the security concerns, the ban was put into place swiftly without any notification to Tunisian authorities. 

The move also sparked outrage among some social media users and critics who cited the decision as discriminatory. 

UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted a response, stating that the decision was made due to security concerns and that the UAE "appreciates and respects" Tunisian women. 

According to Al Jazeera, Tunisia's Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui also said that both parties would like to find a solution as soon as possible – but Tunisia is demanding a public apology. 

“We have a lot of common interests that we could like to safeguard, but we are also safeguarding our women's dignity,” Kinaoui said in the interview.

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