Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella joined nine other partners from Europe and North Africa for a ministerial meeting to discuss the present scenario in the Western Mediterranean. Focus was placed on unfolding events in Libya and regional cooperation on migration. The Libyan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Taha Siala, was also present for the meeting.
In thanking the present French and Moroccan Co-Presidency for organising this meeting at such a sensitive juncture in Mediterranean affairs, Minister Vella underlined the importance that Malta will be attaching to the region during its upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union. On Libya, Minister Vella reiterated Malta's support to the efforts being made by UNSMIL as well as the Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Serraj. He joined other ministers in calling upon all Libyan actors to unite and put their divergences aside for the benefit of the population. The regional effects of instability in Libya, Minister Vella added, cannot be underestimated at any point.
In commenting on the outcomes of the meeting, Minister Vella expressed his satisfaction at the frank nature of the exchanges, enabled by the informal setting of this framework. He also expressed support to the statement agreed by the ministers, which encompasses several areas of cooperation ranging from youth, sustainable development and counter-radicalisation. Minister Vella particularly underlined the insights resulting from a meeting that the ten ministers held with youth representatives from all ten countries.
The Ministerial Statement makes ample references to various initiatives taken by Malta over the past few years in support of dialogue in the region, culminating recently in the Anna Lindh Forum for Mediterranean civil society that took place on 23-25 October 2016.