Challenges of illegal immigration and security on the discussion table -Maltese and Libyan Prime Ministers hold meeting at Castille
The Libyan Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord, Fayez al Serraj, paid an official visit to Malta. The challenge of illegal immigration and security in the Mediterranean were among the main topics discussed at Castile. During the meeting, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that by means of this visit, a coordination centre in Malta to combat illegal immigration was being officially inaugurated.
Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj, was greeted by Prime Minister Robert Abela in Castille Square on Monday morning. Following an inspection of the Guard of Honor by the Maltese Armed Forces, a private meeting in Castile was held between the two Prime Ministers, with the Libyan Prime Minister expressing confidence that given the common interests shared between Malta and Libya, the two could work together for the benefit of the Maltese and Libyans. He thanked the Maltese Government for welcoming the Libyan delegation.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said that Malta and Libya have always enjoyed a good relationship. He reiterated the point he made five weeks ago in Tripoli, when an agreement was signed between the Maltese Government and the Government of the National Accord of Libya, on the control of illegal immigration i.e. – that the Maltese Government looked forward to intensifying work with a view to a stronger Mediterranean region.
Dr Abela thanked the Libyan government and the Libyan coastguard for their work in continuing to save lives. Prime Minister Robert Abela said that on the occasion of the official inauguration of a coordination centre in Malta to combat illegal immigration, Malta recognises the need for more border protection, less human trafficking and less loss of life. By means of the agreement, these centres will have three officers in Malta and three more in Libya. The Maltese Government will be represented by one of three officials appointed by him in Tripoli while the government of Libya’s National Accord will appoint an official in central Malta along with two officials who will be appointed by the Maltese government. Malta has agreed to make good the financing of the centres.
There are an estimated 800,000 immigrants in Libya, many of whom have arrived from other countries, with a view to leaving Europe for a better life at the first available opportunity. By means of the agreement, Malta has pledged its support to Libya with initiatives in the European Union, including the provision of more financial assistance to strengthen Libya’s border security in the south of the country, to acquire technologies for border control and to provide new ferries to curb human trafficking in the Libyan search and rescue area.
Dr Abela also said that the Maltese government reaffirmed its commitment to help the Libyan Government and to ensure that Libya is both for and governed by Libyans.
The Libyan Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abela and Fayez al Serraj inaugurated at Belt is-Sebħ the coordination centre to combat illegal immigration. Prime Minister Abela said this is the first step in a wider process between Malta and Libya for the further protection of borders, less human trafficking and less human deaths in the Mediterranean region.
Later on, President George Vella welcomed the Libyan leader at San Anton Palace, accompanied by Libya’s Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministers. They discussed the current and future situation in Libya.
President Vella stressed on the need that the two countries seek peace and stability in the region.
Prime Minister al Serraj was quoted saying that the Malta visit is an opportunity for both countries to strengthen relations and renew cooperation in the context of immigration and security in the Mediterranean, together with strengthening the friendly relations between the two countries.