13. Oktober 2013 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Maltesischer Premierminister in Libyen · Kategorien: Libyen, Malta


Libyan Prime Minister investigating migrants‘ shooting claims
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in surprise visit to Libya as a show of solidarity with premier Ali Zeidan.

Jürgen Balzan

This afternoon, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat paid a surprise visit to his Libyan counterpart, Ali Zeidan.

In a press conference held following a meeting between the two prime ministers, Zeidan said that investigations into claims by migrants that the Libyan navy had shot at migrants were underway, however preliminary inquiries show that the navy played no part.

Yesterday, survivors of the incident in which tens of migrants lost their lives after a boat capsized 65 miles south of Lampedusa, claimed that they were shot at as they left the North African coast.

Muscat landed at the Mitiga military airport at 1pm accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella and held a 30 minute meeting with Zeidan at the Maltese-owned Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, which was followed by a press conference.

During the meeting Muscat expressed his solidarity with Zeidan and said that political leaders should onlybe elected or removed from power through democratic elections and not violence.

Sources said that on his part, Zeidan expressed his appreciation to Muscat’s visit and said that the relations between the two countries were excellent.

He added that the close relationship between the two leaders was taking relations to the „next level.“

The two delegations also spoke on migration and recent events which saw hundreds of migrants lose their life at sea.

While Zeidan said that he was in talks with authorities in northwestern parts of the country tighten security, the Libyan deputy prime minister explained that the country was in the process of training its forces, introducing technology and more resources to control Libya’s southern borders with Chad and Niger.

On Thursday, Libyan prime minister Zeidan was seized at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli before dawn by former rebel militiamen, only to be released a few hours later.

A former Libyan rebel group said on Thursday it had seized Zeidan after the government allowed the United States to capture top al-Qaeda suspect Abu Anas al-Liby in Tripoli last weekend.

Following his release Zeidan denounced his kidnapping as an attempted coup and warned that some of the country’s many armed militias want to turn it into „another Afghanistan or Somalia“.

Zeidan’s kidnapping deepened fears that Libya may be on the verge of disintegration, with security forces split between regular forces and many militia formations.

However, a resilient Zeidan today said that Muscats visit was a clear signal of the two countries closeness and an affirmation that the use of violence was unacceptable.

„We salute the people of Malta and reiterate our commitment to build a modern country, guaranteeing a civil and peaceful life to our citizens,“ Zeidan said during the press conference.

On his part, Muscat said „We will always be there for you and i believe that the majority of Libyan people want a stable and democratic nation.“

He added that the imposing the rule of law and stability in Libya  is crucial for security in the Mediterranean and Europe.

Muscat said that following the kidnapping incident, he was concerned about Zeidan’s health and todays visit was an act of solidarity.

„Todays meeting was not about business, but we did speak about migration. We can work together on migration, i know that the Libyan government is committed to cooperate and we discussed ideas which i will convey to the EU during the next council meeting.“

However, Muscat insisted that Before dealing with migration „we need to ensure stability in Libya“

Zeidan said that migration was a shared concern between Libya and EU and pointed out that the two leaders had discussed improving surveillance and patrolling of Libya’s coasts.

„However as you know smugglers are experts and they sometimes get away from strict controls,“ he said.

Improving security could be achieved through training, technology support and access to EU satellite network to control Libya’s coast and southern border which Zeidan said would stop the flows of migrants.

Improve system of visa, aware of difficulties and during the next few weeks we will have a new system in place which will strike balance between security and hospitality.

Asked on his position, following the UNHCR’s call for an investigation in the reported shooting of migrants, Zeidan that Libya will do its best to improve security in coastal towns such as Zuwara, reportedly the migrants‘ point of depurture, Zeidan said „We want to improve security for our people all over our territory. By doing so we will also address the migration issue.“

He denied that the Libyan navy shot at migrants and investigations are still underway to determine what happened. While noting that he concurred that it was early to identify the perpetuators, Muscat expressed confidence in the investigations underway.

Turning his attention to the oil crisis in Libya, where production was stalled by striking militias who control oil fields and refineries, Zeidan said that production stood at around 700,000 barrels per day.

He said the Congress was addressing the oil issue and held that the country was moving in the right direction in terms of restoring the production to pre-2011 levels.

„We are confident of restoring stability, strengthen security and we are hopeful and optimistic that we will achieve our aims, but we need patience. This was an organic revolution and addressing the situation will require time. Libya is still a state and we have a strong resolve to stabilise our boat in the choppy waters around us. As long as the boat is moving we are good. We have waited 42 years under the Gaddafi regime and through patience and resolve we will make it,“ he said.

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