Migration, Malta insists on the protection of borders
The Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela said Malta and Libya recognize the need for more protection of the borders of both Eastern Europe and the central Mediterranean, southern Libya and more areas in both contintents. The Maltese Prime Minister was meeting the Libyan Prime Minister Faiez Mustafa Serraj who is on a state visit in Malta.
Robert Abela said that Malta considers Libya as a “trustworthy friend” and the Libyan people “as brothers of the Maltese and Gozitan people.” He added that the Maltese government wants this cooperation to continue, based on mutual trust.
The President of the Libyan Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord Faiez Mustafa Serraj arrived in Malta on Monday. He said that the aim of his frequent visits to Malta is to increase consultation between two countries on various issues of common interest. The President of the Libyan Council stressed that the challenges in the Mediterranean region must be faced together in order to create new opportunities for the benefit of the Maltese and Libyan people.
The Maltese Prime Minister thanked the Libyan government for “the work to protect and save lives in the Mediterranean.” He explained that Malta had been receiving a number of migrants for many years due to the criminal activity of human trafficking. He said these pressures have continued to increase and intensify in recent months.
Robert Abela remarked that this issue was discussed many times with Libya, with European and African partners as well as with others. The Maltese Prime Minister reiterated that this cooperation covers other important issues such as border protection and the need for more investment to ensure prosperity and security in the Mediterranean region.
“The Immigrant Coordination Center, which was inaugurated today in Malta is considered by the Maltese government as the first step in this direction,” said Robert Abela. Last May, the Maltese Prime Minister led a delegation to Libya on an unannounced official visit. During that visit, the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding in which they committed themselves to continue addressing human smuggling and trafficking from the war torn country to Europe.
Robert Abela confirmed the support of the Maltese people at this difficult time Libya is facing. “For us, Libya must be Libyan and led by Libyans. The Maltese Government will continue to support Libya and will encourage more investment so that Libya will build itself again and regain stability.”
Meanwhile, the Maltese Government announced that 284 migrants that are currently in Malta will be relocated to other European Union member states. The process will be co-ordinated by the European Commission. The Maltese Government said that the negotiations on the relocation of these migrants started during the period when the Maltese ports were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency declared by the government.