Borrell: Addressing Migration Problem In Malta Starts By Addressing The Libyan Crisis

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“We fully share Malta’s determination to address illegal migration in a comprehensive way, starting by addressing the crisis in Libya and supporting the Libyan authorities”, said the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell.

In a press conference with Maltese Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo, Borrell stressed that the EU will continue supporting the Libyan people and also the Libyan Coastguard “in order to strengthen their capacity of intervention, to dismantle trafficking networks, and conduct rescue operations in their area of responsibility”.

He pointed out that this will be done through Operation IRINI and the European Union’s Border Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM Libya).

“Libya remains the largest beneficiary in North Africa under the European Union [Emergency] Trust Fund [for Africa]. We Europeans are contributing a lot for the population in Libya” Borrell said.

He stressed the need for a long-term solution in Libya, with “Malta at the forefront when it comes to these efforts”.

Regarding the meeting between the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Head of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, Borrell said “We have a common objective: a united and stable Libya. We need to work together in the framework of the European Union”.

He noted that the Berlin process remains the only international framework to relaunch political dialogue in Libya.

Borrell pointed out that Malta has not pulled out of Operation IRINI. It continues to support the operation, although it is not participating with naval or aerial assets, as other EU member states.

“I have been discussing a lot with my colleague, the Maltese Minister [Evarist Bartolo], about their reluctance to approve some parts of the Operation IRINI and their disagreement with the disembarkment. In the end, everything has been solved”, Borrell said.