By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 27 February 2015:
The Tripoli-based administration of Omar Al-Hassi has warned Malta that Maltese interests in Libya are being . . .[restrict]endangered by what it sees as an increasingly unsympathetic attitude from the government in Valletta.
It has said that it is reviewing links with Malta and has asked the Maltese government to explain its attitude – or it will take “all the necessary steps to reset relations between the two countries”.
It deplored what it said was Malta’s declared readiness to support military intervention in Libya. It accused the Maltese government of encouraging its media to attack Libya Dawn and the Hassi administration. In an incident it did not explain, it accused the Maltese authorities of this January seizing an aircraft used to carry wounded Libyans, because of an outstanding debt.
However its particular ire was reserved for what it claimed was the refusal of the Maltese to allow one of its ministers to transit through Luqa airport to Italy. It is believed that Transport and Communications minister Ramadan Zamit arrived yesterday on a diplomatic passport but did not hold a valid Schengen visa. It appears that the minister was sent back to Libya on the return flight.
Diplomatic passports do not carry any automatic travel privileges. Nor are they necessarily issued to ministers. Two ministers in the former Zeidan government missed an important London investment conference at which they were supposed to be key speakers, simply because they had not applied for their UK visas in time.
The Hassi authorities however claimed that the Maltese government had specifically ordered that the minister be excluded. It said that this had happened even though the politician concerned had Maltese residence. This would seem to overlook the fact that he appears to have been travelling on to another Schengen area country without a current visa. That being the case, the Maltese immigration officials would have been obliged under EU regulations to stop his onward journey to Rome and instead send him home. [/restrict]