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Sarraj and Malta's prime minister sign memorandum of understanding

Fayez al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) holds a press conference in Tripoli, Libya on 15 February 2020. [Hazem Turkia - Anadolu Agency]
Fayez al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) holds a press conference in Tripoli, Libya on 15 February 2020 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

The Head of the Libyan Government's Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj and the Prime Minister of Malta Robert Abela on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of combating irregular migration and strengthening relations between the two countries.

This came during the Maltese prime minister's conclusion of an official visit to the Libyan capital of Tripoli, during which he held talks with Al-Sarraj, dealing with developments in Libya along with a number of joint cooperation files, according to a statement by Al-Sarraj's media office.

The talks were attended by the delegation accompanying the prime minister of Malta, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Evarist Bartolo, the Minister of the Interior Byron Camilleri, and several other senior Maltese government officials.

On the Libyan side, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Siala, the Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha, the Navy Chief of Staff Major General Abdel-Hakim Abu Holia, and a number of other Libyan political and security officials participated in the talks.

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During the talks, Al-Sarraj stressed on the distinguished relationship between the two friendly and neighbouring countries, and expressed his appreciation for Malta's support for the Libyan government, as well as his aspiration to develop bilateral cooperation relations.

Al-Sarraj also provided a briefing about the latest developments in Libya and reiterated the commitment to defeating the aggression that targeted the capital and other cities, to restore stability in the country and achieve the Libyan people's hopes of establishing a civil and democratic state.

Since 4 April, 2019, the militias of the coupist Major General Khalifa Haftar, backed by Arab and European countries, have launched a faltering attack to seize Tripoli, causing civilian deaths and injuries, as well as vast material damages.

Haftar continues the attacks, violating a resolution issued by the UN Security Council on 12 February calling for a ceasefire, and ignoring the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister of Malta expressed his satisfaction in visiting Tripoli and meeting with Al-Sarraj, stressing the depth of relations between the two amicable countries.

Abela communicated Malta's support for the Libyan government and reiterated his country's rejection of the aggression against Tripoli.

He emphasised that there would be no military solution to the Libyan crisis, and there is no alternative to returning to the path of a political solution.

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Abela also confirmed that his country is looking forward to developing relations with Libya in all fields. The two sides agreed to accelerate steps to implement cooperation agreements in the political, economic and security fields.

They also discussed the IRINI operation, launched by the European Union in the Mediterranean, to enforce the implementation of the international arms embargo imposed on Libya since 2011. Both sides agreed that this operation should take into account the reservations expressed by Libya and Malta.

Al-Sarraj criticised this operation on 8 May, stating that: "Weapons and ammunition reach our enemies mostly by land and air, while our ports will be monitored."

The Libyan and Maltese parties also agreed to coordinate their efforts to combat the coronavirus and to address its repercussions.

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