Security situation tops Malta-Libya meeting at Castille

Photo Credit – DOI – Reuben Piscopo/Jeremy Wonnacott

With the security in Libya topping discussion, the Prime Minister has told Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj that Malta ‘will always be there to foster any agreement,’ on peace in Libya.

The assurances to the Libyan leader came during today’s meetings between the two leaders in Castille, in which discussion of the current security situation in the North African state and its capital Tripoli.

An offensive launched by the rebel Libyan commander General Khalifa Haftar in April on fighters loyal to the Libyan PM in Tripoli. The advance of the Libyan National Army threatens the stability of the country and the Government of National Accord led by al-Sarraj (GNA).

Prime Minister Muscat told his Libyan counterpart that the situation was deeply concerning to Malta.

‘The Maltese are and have been close to the Libyan people, both because of the proximity of our two countries, but also because we have always considered Libyans as close friends, almost family,’ Muscat told Al-Sarraj.

‘Diplomacy is the only way forward’

During a recent meeting of European Foreign Ministers, Malta’s Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela that, ‘Malta will continue to unwaveringly support the UN-facilitated process in Libya,’ and that the country would be calling on ‘all parties to do the same.

While expressing his disappointment at the current situation in Libya, Minister Abela said that it was ‘a short-term objective’ to call for ‘a comprehensive and durable ceasefire’ that would bring about negotiation between the warring groups.

Relations with Libya have always been pivotal for peace, stability, and security in the Mediterranean region, and will remain so for years to come.’ Abela added.

Malta will continue to support UN processes in Libya – Abela

‘Diplomacy is the only way forward’ Abela told fellow Ministers and representatives of the EU.

Earlier in the month, the World Health Organisation reported that over 430 people have been killed and at least 2,110 have been wounded since the violence erupted. Over 55,000 had also been displaced.

Migrants and refugees caught up in Tripoli fighting

WHO’s calls come at the same time that UNHCR has been calling on the international community to do its part to help evacuate detained migrants and refugees. The UN body said that it had managed to rescue only a limited number from the city.

‘Migrants and refugees in Tripoli detention centres need to be evacuated’ – UNHCR

Migrant departures

The talks come as migrant crossings from the Central Mediterranean are expected to increase in the summer months.

Recently, the Armed Forces of Malta rescued and disembarked 216 migrants in Malta. This is just one of a number of rescues and disembarkations which have taken place this year so far.

Photos: Malta rescues 216 migrants in upsurge of Mediterranean crossings

Until this time, ad-hoc arrangements have been made between the European Commission and EU member states over the management and distribution of migrants into member states and the Common European Asylum System.

Luke Zerafa

In a a recent discussion between the Maltese Prime Minister and the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitrius Avrampoulos, said that it was important that the ad-hoc processes stopped and a permanent arrangement found.

Ad-hoc option needs to stop; we need permanent solutions – Avramopoulos to PM