By Mustafa Ajnadin.
Tripoli, 26 October 2014:
Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni has set out to strengthen Libya’s relationship with Malta this past . . .[restrict]week through a series of meetings in Valetta with different ministers within the Maltese government.
In a press conference Saturday night in Beida, the Prime Minister said that the Maltese government had given the Libyan delegation a warm reception. It had been eager to discuss the possibility of a deeper economic partnership with Libya, especially in exploration of offshore areas. The two countries had signed such an agreement in the past, but it had not yet been activated, he said.
“There are actually many Maltese business projects that have been stalled for a long time”, Thinni said. ‘In order to get things going again, we’ve issued an invitation—which has been accepted—to the Maltese Minister of Economy to visit Libya in order to assess the situation to see about re-starting the projects”.
On the vexed subject of visas for Libyans wishing to enter Malta, the delegation met the Minister of Interior to talk about making the process easier. The Maltese have said that they understand the situation that many Libyan families have found themselves in and that they are looking for ways to help, Thinni said.
After meetings with the Minister of Culture, it was decided that the two countries would promote a cultural exchange, especially in the area of media. The Libyan government would begin to broadcast from Malta in English, Thinni said, in order to give the non-Arabic speaking world the opportunity to hear Libyan news directly from the source.
Plans are also under way to help boost opportunities for Libyan university students to study in Malta, Thinni said. “We want to reduce the time that it takes for students to obtain visas, which will hopefully pave the way for more students to go”.
Thinni said that the Maltese government had assured him that it was more than willing to cooperate with his government to tackle the challenge of illegal migration and fuel smuggling.
“Finally”, Thinni said, “we discussed opening up new flights between Labraq Airport and Malta and Tobruk and Tunis, as well as a new shipping line between Benghazi and Tripoli”. [/restrict]