Malta, April 17:
In what marks a new approach to Libya’s entry into the stream of democratic countries, Malta’s Foreign Minister Tonio . . .[restrict]Borg said Libya should now become a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention on the rights of refugees.
Borg’s statement reflects the game-change in relations with Libya since the fall of the Qaddafi regime, when Malta and Italy abided by demands from the dictator for European monies in a bid to control the flow of immigration from his country – little pressure then was made on Libya to sign the Geneva Convention.
“It is in our interest that Libya signs the Geneva convention so that it can process claims by asylum seekers. However the EU must help Libya in setting up the system, otherwise Libya would not have a practical interest in signing the convention,” he said.
Borg was unequivocal on the role played by Muammar Qaddafi in using migration as a bargaining chip to put pressure on the European Union.
“Significantly, when Italy signed the €5-billion agreement with Qaddafi there was a reduction in the flow of migration to Europe. Today we are sure that the Qaddafi regime used migration as a leverage to get money out of Europe,” Borg said.
Most of the surviving migrants interviewed by Goldsmiths University of London researchers into the ‘left-to-die-boat’ ignored by Nato vessels in the Mediterranean in April 2011, have testified to the active role that former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s troops played not only in organising and managing the crossing but also in often forcing sub-Saharan migrants to leave.
Malta Today [/restrict]