A book chronicling the many trials and tribulations of the 2011 Libya crisis as seen through the eyes of former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi is due to be published next month.
The book, entitled Gonzi and Malta's Break with Gaddafi: Recollections of a Premier, is the work of Dr Joseph Cassar, a former Maltese ambassador to Libya. Published by the Kite Group, it provides a unique journey through the hard and defining decisions taken during the crisis.
Commenting on his Facebook page yesterday, Dr Gonzi said: “Last night, I read another chapter of the book to be published in the coming weeks on my experience of the Libya crisis. Having relived what we went through, I cannot but express my gratitude to the Maltese people for their work to help a neighbouring country.”
In gripping, never before heard detail, Dr Gonzi’s accounts bring readers:
inside Gaddafi’s Bedouin tent a few days before the revolution started;
in his office the moment the Libyan Air Force Mirage jets landed in Malta and the ensuing negotiations with Libya;
on the telephone with European Prime Ministers;
at discussions with the Libyan National Transitional Council;
at European Council Summits
and in the Government Contingency Centre during delicate rescue operations that were underway in the Libyan desert.
The book also contains exclusive photographs and documents, and offers unique insights into Malta’s role in the crisis – from the man who was at the centre of it all.
Malta played a critical role in the Libya crisis and many were the diplomatic tests through which the country was put – challenging its mettle on several occasions: the evacuation of foreign citizens from Libya through Malta, the Mirage jet standoff and, of course, Malta’s resolute stance against the actions of the Gaddafi regime.
The government had been bold enough to have turned away a Libyan plane carrying pilots sent to take back the two Libyan Air Force Mirage fighter jets – which, presumably, had been used to bomb rebels and civilians – left in Malta by defecting pilots.
Malta had also denounced the Gaddafi regime’s handling of the popular revolt by declaring that “the end of the Gaddafi regime was inevitable” early in the crisis – earlier than some would have liked – but it was a move that placed Malta on the right side of history.
Dr Gonzi’s own account of these and several other testing moments from the Libya crisis will certainly be highly anticipated reading, come December.