By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 13 October 2013:
A clampdown on people-smugglers from Libya was at the centre of talks today between the Libyan . . .[restrict]and Maltese prime ministers .
Ali Zeidan and his Maltese opposite number Joseph Muscat vowed that improved training and the strengthening of marine patrols, along with greater surveillance, would narrow the opportunities for the smugglers who trade in human beings, so often with tragic consequences.
This week Malta warned that the Mediterranean was being turned “into a cemetery” after 31 more people died from a boatload of some 250 Syrian refugees. This tragedy came just a week after the horror of the Lampedusa shipwreck which left 369 asylum seekers dead. Muscat said earlier this week that Malta felt “abandoned “by the rest of Europe and urged the EU to take action.
At a joint press conference after their talks at Tripoli’s Corinthia hotel, Zeidan and Muscat agreed that greater vigilance and stronger cooperation between Libya and the European Union were key to reducing the flow of illegal immigrants setting off from Libya. They said that they shared a common concern in stopping Libya being “ a state of transit”.
Zeidan said that he also raised the difficulties Libyans experienced obtaining Maltese visas. Muscat said that the Maltese Ministry of the Interior was working with the Libyan Foreign Ministry on the question, but said that there were security issues that had to be taken into account. [/restrict]