Malta and Libya agree to set up two coordination centres in the fight against human trafficking

An agreement has been signed for the setting up of coordination centres – one in Malta and another in Libya – to assist in operations against illegal immigration. The agreement was signed in Tripoli during an official visit by Prime Minister Robert Abela who stressed that the solution to this challenge lay in concrete action on the Libyan coast while stressing that Malta has always respected international obligations. At the meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj estimated that there are currently 800,000 illegal immigrants arriving from other countries.

Malta and Libya have agreed to set up two coordination centres in the fight against human trafficking. The agreement was signed in Tripoli during an official visit by Prime Minister Robert Abela, through which Malta is expected to support Libya with European Union initiatives, including the provision of financial assistance from the next European budget.

During a short official visit to Libya, Prime Minister Robert Abela held talks with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, where they discussed the challenges posed by irregular immigration in the Mediterranean.

The Prime Minister reiterated Malta’s position on the need to address and stop human trafficking. He said that Malta was facing a disproportionate and unprecedented influx and burden. The Libyan Prime Minister said that an estimated 800,000 illegal immigrants had arrived in Libya from other countries and stressed the need for an effective and long-term solution.

The two leaders spoke of the need for stronger cooperation with a view to ensuring that no more lives are lost between land and sea and that human traffickers are challenged both on land and at sea.

In Tripoli, the Prime Minister was accompanied by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo and Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri.

Dr Abela said that despite its limited resources, Malta had always respected its international obligations on a humanitarian basis. He stressed, however, that Malta cannot bear this burden alone and that it will work with other European countries to support the countries in the Mediterranean with the necessary resources to face this challenge. In the words of the Prime Minister, the solution could be found in concrete action on the shores of Libya.

The aircraft carrying the Prime Minister is seen shortly before landing in Malta this afternoon © Adrian Spiteri
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