Security beefed up around Libyan embassy in Balzan

Maltese government caught in the middle of a dispute between the Tobruk and Tripoli parliaments

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Police Force are in direct and constant contact in a bid to find a solution to a problem created in Libya but which is affecting the situation in Malta.

A number of Libyans today descended outside the Libyan Embassy in Balzan in a peaceful manifestation demanding the removal of the Charges d’Affairs.

With two parliaments in Libya, the Maltese government was faced with a request by the Tobruk government not to recognise a diplomat appointed by the Tripoli the government.

In a statement, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs reiterated that Malta, together with EU members states and the United Nations, recognised the Tobruk government as the one elected democratically to represent the people.

A separate parliament set up in Tripoli, known as the General National Congress, is now calling on foreign countries to recognise it as the legitimate government. Both parliaments have their own Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers.

The European Union and the United Nations repeatedly declared that the Tobruk parliament should be the internationally recognised government. Meanwhile, UN representative Bernardino Leon has kept contact with both sides in a bid to convince them to come together in a conference and seek a solution to the differences.

“Thus, in the absence of a Libyan ambassador to Malta, the Maltese government, was recognizing the Charges d’Affairs, whose position was not contested by anyone. Subsequently, the Tripoli government informed the Maltese government that they wanted to remove the Charges d’Affairs, and instead appoint an accredit person enjoying the trust of the Tripoli government,” the Ministry explained.

Immediately, the Maltese government received a note verbale by the parliament in Tobruk insisting that the government should not recognise the person nominated by Tripoli but to recognise the person specifically sent by Tobruk to occupy this post. This created a situation whereby the diplomat representing the Tripoli government refused to step down.

“Facing this situation, the Maltese government consulted with both the European Union and Foreign Affairs Ministers hailing from neighbouring countries. The Maltese government wishes for a solution to be found between the two Libyan factions with the Maltese government being dragged into it.

“Unfortunately, the situation is not that easy and the Maltese government is holding a number of meetings and consultations for an agreement to be reached without giving rise to further arguments and fights between Libyans in Malta supporting the different sides.”

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