Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella is in Cyprus to participate in the third MED7 meeting hosted by his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kassoulides. Minister Vella was also joined by ministers from Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Greece.
Discussions at Limassol were primarily focused on the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on its immediate neighbours Lebanon and Jordan, tensions in the Gulf region, Libya, migration, and the EU's relations with the Arab World.
Minister Vella underlined the humanitarian aspects of the Syrian crisis which, apart from the disastrous consequences on the population, have resulted in unprecedented strains on its neighbours as well as on various European structures. Malta,
Dr Vella added, will be supporting international and European efforts in support of Jordan and Lebanon. The two countries have been enduring very severe repercussions because of events in Syria, and this in addition to difficulties and limitations of their own. The global political ratification entailed in the crisis requires additional attention and constructive stances by important actors such as Iran, Turkey, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
On Libya, Dr Vella stated that Malta continues to fully support the facilitation of dialogue between parties by UNSMIL and Special Representative Martin Kobler, despite the several delays encountered. The underlying and common goal is the endorsement of a government that would take its official seat in Tripoli. It remains vital that no doors are closed on any of the interlocutors, even if their positions seem to be presently entrenched. The international community should therefore continue to persist with its efforts to broaden support for the UN's work. Libyan sovereignty, Dr Vella added, should be respected at all times.
The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Fathalla Sijilmassi, joined ministers during a discussion on relations with the Arab world and gave a detailed overview of ongoing projects in a wide range of fields.
Minister Vella reiterated Malta's support to UfM and commended the direct benefits that its projects are bringing to the grassroots. Relations between the EU and the League of Arab States are a key priority for Malta and, Minister Vella added, the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union will see intensified efforts and concrete plans on this front.