02 March 2005

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Malta and Libya preparing joint paper on immigration
The Maltese and the Libyan Foreign Ministers, Michael Frendo and Abdul Rahman Shalgam, have agreed to prepare a joint paper on combating illegal immigration to be presented at the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Forum Ministerial Meeting in Valletta next June on the 29th and 30th.
The Ministers were meeting in Sirte, Libya as part of a visit by Frendo, during which he also met the Prime Minister of Libya, Shoukri Ghanem and the International Secretary of the People's Congress, Suleiman Shahoumi.
In their joint paper the Ministers will be pushing for the holding of an international conference on illegal immigration in the Mediterranean in which the states participating will be those from where illegal immigrants originate, as well as states of transit and states receiving such illegal immigrants.
The Conference will tackle the problem of human trafficking in a holistic manner seeking the participation of all state stakeholders in this issue.
During their meeting, Ministers Frendo and Shalgam agreed to hold political consultations on a regular basis, aimed at periodic meetings throughout the year to maintain the momentum of the closeness of relations between Malta and Libya.
This agreement between Malta and Libya complements similar undertakings which Minister Frendo has reached with his counterparts in Egypt, Italy and Tunisia and with the Secretary General of the Arab League. Minister Shalgam undertook to visit Malta in the coming months to continue this political dialogue.
The Ministers also agreed to hold this year in Tripoli, the 24th session of the Libyan-Maltese Joint Commission. They reviewed progress registered in the facilitation of movement of nationals between the two countries and agreed to continue to improve on existing measures.
Frendo's talks with Libyan Prime Minister Shoukri Ghanem focused on the changing economic environment in Libya and Malta and on the resulting opportunities for trade and investment.
Frendo raised with the Libyan Prime Minister the facilitation of the application of the two countries' double taxation agreement to attract investment in Libya via Malta and the benefits to Libyan companies using Malta as an operational and financial base for their activities within the European Union.
Frendo also brought to the Prime Minister's attention his initiative to suggest to, and encourage, the University of Malta to set up a Link Campus in Tripoli on the lines that it has already set up a Link Campus in Rome where it has over 400 students currently following its postgraduate courses. The Libyan Prime Minister enthusiastically approved of this initiative and said that he would give it his full support.
Frendo said that Malta's relations with Libya should be multilevel: not only at the level of governments but also at the level of universities, business and people.
The Libyan Prime Minister and the Maltese Foreign Minister also discussed Frendo's recent visit to Ramallah and Jerusalem and efforts to consolidate and move forward the Middle East Peace Process.

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