An extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council Meeting was convened on Friday in Brussels at the request of the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles to discuss the situation in Libya and the escalation in Iran/Iraq.
During the discussion about Libya, part of which was held in the presence of UNSMIL Chief and UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ghassan Salame, Malta expressed utter concern at the current developments around the crisis in Libya, and reaffirmed Malta’s conviction that a political and diplomatic solution based on the UN track is the sole way ahead.
Echoing recent appeals from HRVP Borrell Fontelles and also from Special Representative Ghassan Salame, Malta reiterated its rejection of foreign interventions in Libya and joined in the call for de-escalation in and around Libya. A solution for peace, security, stability and ultimately prosperity in Libya requires a durable and comprehensive ceasefire, and an effective implementation of the 2011 arms embargo on Libya. As Malta had stated on a number of occasions, the UN Security Council holds the key to this solution.
Supporting both Salame and Borrell, Malta asserted that, at all times, the international community speaks with one voice for the welfare of the Libyan people thereby safeguarding the delicate balance of security and stability that currently prevails in the region.
In this context, and in support of the ongoing Berlin Process, which is expected to lead to the convening of a summit in the coming weeks, Malta offered to assist in the process with the hosting of talks that have the potential to bring peace in Libya and stability in the region. This offer was submitted in reaction to the High Representative’s request to member states to contribute tangibly to a solution, not simply highlighting concerns. The proposal submitted by Malta underscores the firm belief that the European Union has to carve itself a significant and effective role to address a situation on its own doorstep. Malta also supported the importance of identifying how EUNAVFOR MED Operation SOPHIA can better assist in the situation.
The meeting proceeded with a discussion on the Iran/Iraq scenario in the presence of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, were concerns were raised on the dialogue with Iran, the recent events on Iraqi soil and the effects that the situation is having on the civilian population, not least the crash of a Ukrainian commercial aircraft departing Iran’s international airport last Wednesday killing over 170 persons.