With the resources available at its disposal, a stable Libya could be a major international player, and even an economic powerhouse, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.
In a speech at the exchange of New Year’s greetings with heads of diplomatic missions, Dr Muscat said that Malta would continue to work with regional and international partners towards ensuring Libya’s complete sovereignty over its natural resources.
“The visit by Libyan Prime Minister Serraj yesterday was not only a continuation of a dialogue between two neighbouring countries, but also a way to keep in touch with friends who are passing through a period of upheaval.”
“A stable Libya is not only important for the Libyan people, who have a special relationship with the Maltese, but also for stability in a region. And with so many resources, it can be a major international player, and even an economic powerhouse.”
Dr Muscat said that stability in the region also meant a longer-term solution for migration – an issue which continues to dominate the agenda.
Praising “the decisive intervention of the European Commission, particularly Jean-Claude Juncker and his team, as well as Commissioner Avramopolous,” Dr Muscat said that the solution yesterday was by no means final.
“Immigration will remain an issue for Europe in the weeks, months, and many years to come. Ignoring it will be to the detriment of the future of the EU as a union.”
He said that the Global Compact on Migration could assist in managing migration in a safe way, and here Africa remains Europe’s most important partner.
“There can be a sensible migration management policy which is humane, but still gives peace of mind to the security concerns of people in the host country. This is what Malta embraces.”
Dr Muscat added that Malta was not only reaching out to Africa in terms of solidarity, but also in terms of trade, by opening a High Commission in Ghana, one of the largest economies within the Economic Community of West African States, as well as a Commonwealth member. Malta has nominated a non-resident Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union.
“The promotion of trade complements the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s political work, with success stories already visible in the African context, as mentioned, as well as in Asia – particularly with India, Japan and China,” Dr Muscat said.