Libyan prime minister designate asks Malta for more support

Libyan prime minister designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah asks Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo for Malta’s support on travel visas, flights and bank accounts for Libyan nationals

Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo
Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo

Libya’s prime minister designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has asked Malta for more support in a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo.

A statement released by the Maltese foreign ministry on Wednesday said Dbeibah asked Malta to address problems related to travel visas and residence permits for Libyans, commence flights to Tripoli and facilitate the opening of bank accounts for Libyans in Malta.

The telephone conversation took place after Dbeibah singled out Malta in a recent speech, saying that Malta should show more respect towards Libya.

The Foreign Ministry statement described the conversation as “very positive”.

“Abdul Hamid Dbeibah acknowledged that Malta has always offered friendship and help to the Libyan people and the Maltese people are regarded as friends. At this crucial time, however, he expressed hope that Malta will offer more support,” the statement read.

Bartolo is quoted saying that work on opening a Maltese Consulate in Tripoli is at a very advanced stage and reopening of the embassy in Libya will follow after that.

“Malta will also be addressing the problem regarding visas and residence permits to ensure that undue delays and hardships for Libyans will be avoided,” Bartolo said.

On flights between Malta and Libya, Bartolo said the government will be guided by the EU authorities.

Bartolo and Dbeibah also discussed the steps that need to be taken to facilitate the opening of bank accounts for Libyans in Malta, “provided that all international financial regulations are observed”.

On the issue concerning a shipment of Libyan Dinars that had been stopped in Malta because it was in breach of UN sanctions, Bartolo said these will be handed over once the UN gives its approval.

The money had been shipped from Russia to the breakaway administration in eastern Libya in breach of UN sanctions.

Bartolo said Malta is working with the UN Special Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the EU to have a “united Libya run by Libyans in peace and prosperity”.

Dbeibah is reported to have said that he would be inviting Prime Minister Robert Abela to Libya to discuss further bilateral issues, as soon as the new government is confirmed.

Dbeibah was recently elected to head a transition team that is supposed to lead Libya to national elections on 24 December.