It has been disheartening to witness our neighbour Libya descend into chaos and civil war. Malta has had brotherly relations with Libya since our independence, and our relationship has both transcended national governments and international political shifts.
Libya could become one of the main active players in the Mediterranean region. It possesses unrivalled natural resources that if used properly and intelligently, Libya and the Libyans could become prosperous. We all know however, that Libyans suffered tremendously over the year and are now craving to live in peace and stability and to thrive both economically and culturally.
The Paris Conference co-hosted by France, Italy and Germany is the latest window of opportunity to cement the much-needed change in Libya. International Organisations and Heads of States and Governments of Algeria, Chad, China, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo (chair of the African Union), Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Kuwait (Chair of the Ministerial Council of the League of Arab States), Malta, Morocco, the Netherlands, Niger, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, the Republic of the Congo (Chair of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya), the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States and the Executive Secretariat of the Group of Five for the Sahel, participated in this conference.
The conference reaffirmed its support for a Libyan-led and owned political process facilitated by the United Nations, leading to a political solution to the Libyan crisis. According to the Libyan Political Roadmap, elections must be held on the 24th December and that all foreign fighters, forces and mercenaries should leave Libya immediately.
Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela reiterated Malta’s message on the role and support for Libya to become peaceful, stable, and prosperous.
What is needed?
Malta will always stand by Libya. In Malta, Libya can find a genuine friend that is always willing to assist in whatever way we can. The onus of a proper and calm electoral process together with a peaceful political transition following the election results, now rests on the Libyans.
The House of Representatives needs to enact the proper electoral legislation so that elections are held as mandated by the Libyans themselves.
Foreign powers should cease to interfere in Libyan affairs and support the mandate of the Government of National Unity.
All foreign forces, fighters and mercenaries should leave Libya without delay.
All Libyan political stakeholders should accept the outcome of elections once these are held, irrespective of whether they like the results or not and should commit themselves now to the electoral process.
Libyan elections need to be free, fair, inclusive, and credible. They should provide the tools by which Libyans can chart their own democratic future.
The Mediterranean region needs a strong and prosperous Libya. The conference has set an example of how cooperation in the Mediterranean region can often result in desired outcomes. This should become the example to follow in addressing any differences in our region.
We share a common bond, but also a common interest in ensuring stability in the Mediterranean region.
Mutual respect should always define our engagement among us Mediterranean partners despite any difference we may have.