The Malta Independent 16 July 2020, Thursday

MoU signed by Malta and Libya published, Malta to push for funding for Libya

Wednesday, 3 June 2020, 18:05 Last update: about 2 months ago

Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo has tabled the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the Maltese and Libyan Governments that, among other things, deals with migration.

Bartolo, in Parliament, gave an account on the agreement made between Libya and Malta. He was answering questions posed by Member of Parliament's including Beppe Fenech Adami, Glenn Bedingfield, Karm Mifsud Bonnici aswell as David Thake.

Last week Minister Bartolo together with Prime Minister Robert Abela travelled to Tripoli, Libya. 

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Bartolo said that the "discussions primarily focused on the internal situation that is going on in Libya, and on what steps could be taken to curb the number of boats that human traffickers send from Libya to European countries, as this also affects our country."

"There was an agreement between Libya and Malta to have coordination centres, one in Malta and one in Libya," he said.

The actual Memorandum states that the centres will commence operations on July 1 and the Maltese government will be financing both centres.

The centres will be limited to coordination and support.

He continued by saying "the EU has a responsibility to reach a comprehensive agreement with Libya in order restrain irregular immigration."

"The number of immigrants arriving in Malta is disproportionate compared to other European countries as in the last 15 years Europe has taken in only 1,700 immigrants, whilst 22,000 immigrants have landed in Malta."

"The security and development of the European Union depends on what happens in the Mediterranean and Africa."

Bartolo also highlighted that "this is not the first time that there has been a disagreement with Italy over where the boats with immigrants should enter."

The Memorandum that was signed also stipulates that Malta will propose to the EU Commission and EU states the increase in financial support to help the Government of National Accord in securing the southern borders of Libya, as well as the necessary technologies for border control and protection, as well as in the dismantling and follow up of human trafficking networks and curtailing the operations of organised crime. It also states that Malta, in coordination with the EU, will propose funding towards additional maritime assets necessary for the interception and follow up of human trafficking activities in the search and rescue region.

The Memorandum is valid for three years and can be read here. The Annex was not tabled.


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