Migrant departures from Libya may increase over security vacuum, Maltese FM says

Maltese foreign affairs minister Carmelo Abela (Photo: Internet)

Migrant departures from Libya may increase due to a deterioration of the security situation, foreign affairs minister Carmelo Abela told a Parliamentary committee on Monday.

Abela told the House Committee for Foreign and European Affairs that the situation on the ground in Libya had worsened since August 26, with various armed militias operating in Tripoli and other areas.

These developments also cast doubt on whether elections planned for December 10 would be held, given that Libya was still putting together its electoral registry, and that the proposed timeframe – which had been agreed by all four key faction leaders at the Paris Summit earlier in 2018 – had been ambitious from the start.

The minister said Malta continued to fully support the UN Support Mission in Libya, and the mission’s leader Ghassan Salamé. He did not exclude meeting with the Libyan foreign minister on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly in November.

Responding to questions by Opposition MP Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, he said the UN was already working on the ground to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

He added that the international community aimed to ensure that elections delivered a stable government and a single, unified parliament by supporting Libyan-driven efforts towards a normally-functioning state.

Abela said there was currently no reason for alarm when it came to Maltese citizens currently in Libya. Were circumstances to change, the groundwork for ensuring the safety these citizens was already in place, and Malta was working with other countries towards this end.

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