PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr George W. Vella during the Ministerial Meeting on Libya held on the side lines of the UN General Assembly, September 2016

Excellencies,

This meeting is timely and opportune in order to take stock of the latest developments that took place since our meeting in Vienna. I fully concur with the contents, the message and direction outlined in our Draft Joint Communique. Unfortunately, most of the contents of the Communique are still wishful thinking, far away from the reality on the ground.

More than five months have lapsed since the Presidency Council entered Tripoli. Progress has been registered but there is still a long way to go in order to transform Libya into a secure and democratic state. Now more than ever, we need a fully effective government that is able to assert its authority over the country and deliver. Libya’s national economic institutions, including the Central Bank of Libya, the National Oil Corporation and the Libyan Investment Authority, must function under the sole stewardship of the Government of National Accord (GNA).

We strongly encourage Prime Minister Serraj and the members of his Government to put aside all differences and personal interests, strengthen their outreach inside Libya and seek effective mechanisms for a dialogue to support national reconciliation. Furthermore, there needs to be an inclusive approach whereby all segments of society and relevant stakeholders from all Libya’s regions must find their rightful place in the political process. This is Libya’s process: The solution to the crisis remains with the Libyan people alone. We are truly concerned about the developments taking place in the East, where fighting is still ongoing and where resistance to the process of reconciliation could lead Libya towards dangerous paths. We have been waiting for a long time, and several windows of opportunities for leading personalities in the East to join the mainstream and find a rightful place in the dialogue process are still open.

They are still in time to join the dialogue process and Malta remains committed to offer its services and facilities for this to happen.

There seems to be no motivation in the East to participate in the UN-led efforts, despite the Special Representative’s unstinting efforts and the initiatives taken by most of the countries present today to overcome this persisting obstacle. Too many months have been lost in this debacle and we cannot afford, for the Libyan people’s sake, to start feeling complacent with this impasse. The major obstacles that we are facing and that have been persisting for long are due to the lack of principled alliances. Actions are driven by personal motivations and ambitions as opposed to genuine cooperation. My appeal therefore goes out to all of us, as well as to regional organisations, to deliver a clear message in our contacts with our interlocutors to the East. We need to invest more efforts in this direction as UNSMIL cannot do it alone. Above all, it is imperative to talk with one voice and desist from sending mixed signals. Through our statements and through our material support on the ground to various factions.

The role of General Hafter needs to be clearly addressed in this light. I cannot but underline that his latest manoeuvres do not concur with our persistent calls for dialogue and reconciliation. Libya’s wealth pertains to all Libyans and all Libyans, whoever they are, should benefit from the immense resources of their country. Controlling the flow of Libya’s natural resources should not be a ‘bargaining chip’ to achieve power. Libya’s oil belongs to the Libyan people. On the contrary it should be the key to reviving the economy, alleviate the humanitarian situation, and help bring together the military and political powers for the betterment of future stability and prosperity in Libya.

Excellencies,

The Libyan Political Agreement remains the backbone of the political dialogue, encompassing all components of Libyan society. We need to continue expressing our cohesion and determination in facilitating the return to normality of all Libyans. While remaining realistic in the face of existing challenges we should, above all, not be discouraged.

We will be taking this commitment forward during our upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union, starting on 1 January 2017 as a leading priority in our programme.

Malta will continue to stand behind the Libyan people’s efforts to transform Libya into a secure, democratic, and unified state.

One last thought: let us think about ways and means how we can make the process effectively more ‘Libyan owned’ and less as if it is ‘UN imposed’ as some sectors like to label it.

Thank you.

Source: Government of Malta