Tripoli, 7 October:
The western Mediterranean 5+5 group of countries finished two days of discussions in Malta yesterday, Saturday, at which they committed themselves to closer cooperation between themselves, particularly on illegal immigration.
They also condemned the “continuous acts of murder, violence and heinous crimes committed by the Syrian government forces and its militias”.
The 5+5 group comprises Libya, represented by Congress President Mohamed Magarief, along with Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauretania, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Malta. It was the first meeting of the group since the Arab Spring last year and the first attended by heads of government or state in nine years.
The ten countries agreed a proposal put forward by the Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki to set up a humanitarian task-force to combat illegal immigration across the Mediterranean from sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb states to Europe. “Security in Europe depends on security in the Mediterranean”, he had told his fellow leaders.
The aim of the task force is to so improve economic conditions in the migrants’ home countries that they do not want to head north to Europe.