By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 18 June 2014:
As residents in Tripoli continue face petrol shortages and long queues at forecourts, Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni has called on the Maltese government to take action against those involved in smuggling fuel from Libya to Malta.
He told Maltese Ambassador Emmanuel Galea in a meeting yesterday that the smuggling was on the increase and had become “a threat to the Libyan state” which could impact not only on national security but on the close ties between the two countries. He accused smugglers of taking advantage of the present security crisis.
Responding to the call, Malta’s Foreign Ministry has said that senior Maltese security personnel had met to investigate Thinni’s allegations and take action.
Foreign Minister George Vella was reported telling the Libyan Chargé d’Affaires Huseen Benown that Malta would cooperate with Libya to fight smuggling in all its forms. Information from Libya would result in “immediate action” by the Maltese, Vella said.
He himself planned to speak by phone to Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdulaziz on the subject.
Last year, in two separate incidents, two Maltese men were arrested in Libya on suspicion of smuggling thousands of litres of Libyan diesel to Malta. Matthew Piscopo was released at the end of the year. Kevin McManus is still in Libya facing charges. [/restrict]