The Malta Independent 21 May 2022, Saturday

Agreement signed for restarting of flights between Malta and Libya

Albert Galea Friday, 10 September 2021, 14:54 Last update: about 9 months ago

An agreement which will see the eventual restarting of flights between Malta and Libya has been signed by the Transport Ministries of the two countries, it was announced on Friday.

The announcement was made by the Prime Minister of the State of Libya Abdulhamid Dbeibeh after lengthy bilateral talks between himself and Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela at Castille in Valletta.

Dbeibeh said that the “special agreement” will permit the restarting of air travel between Malta and various airports in Libya, “with full respect of civil aviation protocols.”

Flights between Malta and Libya have been on hold since unrest erupted in the North African country in 2014.  Air Malta flew to Libya for the first time since then last July as part of talks and assessments for more regular flights to be restarted.

Dbeibeh said in his speech following the discussions that other talks on problems which the Libyan community in Malta is facing, on how both countries’ home affairs ministries can collaborate to combat illegalities, and on how Malta can be used as a training centre for Libyan forces were also held.

Prime Minister Abela meanwhile said that he was satisfied at the outcome of the meeting, saying that Malta and Libya can collaborate on common sectors such as health, energy, border control, immigration, and the fight against organised crime.

He said that he is determined to see the cooperation develop more in the coming months and years, and described Libya as a “trusted friend” of Malta.

Abela noted that the energy sector in particular is a sector where new opportunities for both countries can be created.

He said that Malta has, as promised, opened its embassy in Tripoli and has now started processing visa applications as well.

“Malta is ready to do anything to ensure that stability and peace reign in Libya, and then if that continues to reign, as brothers we can address our common challenges,” Abela said.

On his part, Dbeibah said that he is “truly satisfied” with the positive atmosphere of trust and friendship between Malta and Libya and said that the meeting was very positive and that it was a point from where they can move forward.

Maltese and Libyan delegations met throughout the day after a welcome ceremony which included the utilisation of the AFM’s brass band.

Dbeibah is the Prime Minister of Libya’s interim Government of National Unity – a role he took on 5 February 2021 and which he will hold until elections which are scheduled for this coming December.

It was a long meeting: the two Prime Ministers were expected to give a press statement at around 12pm, but only gave it an hour and a half later at around 1:30pm.

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