Malta ‘continues to keep’ Tripoli embassy open – government

Militias to engage in talks on Monday • Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella welcomes initiation of Libyan talks

Amid increasing appeal for the international community to take the situation in Libya seriously, it has now been confirmed that all interested parties in the Libyan conflict will start tomorrow in Gadames, an oasis town to the southwest of Tripoli.

The talks will be held under the aegis of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and on the initiative of the United Nation Secretary General Special Representative, Bernardino Leon.

Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella welcomed the new development and, on behalf of the Maltese government, praised UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon for his unwavering efforts in bringing all parties in the Libyan conflict to the negotiating table.

“The opportunity that has presented itself must now be sustained by all the international community,” Vella said, calling on all Libyans and their political leaders to   show maturity and leadership so that the people and country will start their recovery to progress and development.

“Malta believes that political transition can only be achieved through compromise and understanding.”

The Maltese government reiterated its support to the Libyan people and pledged to continue to be engaged over the Libyan crisis.

“Malta has kept and continues to keep its embassy open in Tripoli demonstrating solidarity with all Libyans.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday, Libya's foreign minister Agila Saleh Essa  warned the situation in his country could spiral further out of control without international sanctions against political spoilers and quick support to equip and rebuild the army.

He said that the growing violence in Libya would not have happened if the international community had taken "the situation in Libya seriously."

UN special envoy to Libya, Leon, has also told Al Arabiya that Libyan militias should be disarmed if a political solution to the crisis that is ravaging the country is to be achieved.

“One of the priorities if a political agreement is possible in the coming weeks should be starting disarming militias because this is one of the reasons why this recent confrontation took place, Leon told Al Arabiya.

Leon pointed out to the danger posed by the heavy weapons at the hands of various militias in Libya and said foreign countries should respect a U.N. call for an arms embargo on the North African country.

“The Security Council resolution 2174 is very clear about it: there should be a total embargo. No more weapons should be sent to the country,” Leon said.

Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has also called for disarmament and, speaking in Arabic during the UN debate, he also said that the families and the children of Libya deserved a future.

Despite the United Nations support mission launched in the North African country, Libya faces immense challenges especially when it comes to restoring its security and law and order. Malta, who is directly affected by the conflict in Libya, has appealed to the UN to help bring together the different factions round the table.

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