Malta calls for EU unity in Libya crisis

The latest developments in Libya call for level-headedness, restraint and a political solution, Maltese government says

Fighting around Tripoli has escalated after General Khalifa Haftar ordered his forces to capture the Libyan capital
Fighting around Tripoli has escalated after General Khalifa Haftar ordered his forces to capture the Libyan capital

A military solution to the turmoil in Libya is counterproductive to achieving peace and stability, the Maltese government has told EU counterparts.

At a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, Malta’s permanent representative Daniel Azzopardi said the latest escalation in conflict in Libya was “extremely disconcerting”.

He called for EU unity in dealing with the current crisis.

Azzopardi delivered Malta’s message on behalf of Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela who is currently leading a business delegation in Singapore.

“Such circumstances call for level-headedness, restrained and conscious decision-making in favour of a peaceful political and diplomatic solution. This is the only road to peace,” Azzopardi said.

Violence has escalated over the past few days after General Khalifa Haftar ordered his forces to take Tripoli. Fighting has raged between Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army and militias loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord.

On Monday, Tripoli’s only functional airport at Mitiga was bombed by Haftar’s forces.

The general, who is allied with the eastern-based administration, has ignored international calls to stop the offensive.

Malta is supporting the various calls made by the UN and the G7 countries against a military solution.

“Coordinated international action in Libya is required under the auspices, and in support, of the UN. Malta appealed to the Security Council, that it is imperative that the entire international community comes together in full unity to help reinstate and pursue peace and stability in Libya,” Azzopardi said.

Malta also urged EU states that are able to exert pressure to prevent further escalation of conflict in Libya, to do so. 

A UN-sponsored national conference in Libya was scheduled to be held between 14 April and 16 April. Over the weekend, the UN suggested the conference should go ahead despite the hostilities.

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