Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo has called for the EU to send a humanitarian mission to Libya in order to alleviate the pressure off Europe’s migrant crisis.
In an address to the nation earlier today, Bartolo also proposed the delivery of €100 million worth of food and medical supplies to the war-torn country before the situation worsens.
“As we fight the coronavirus crisis, there’s another a major crisis on Europe’s doorstep,” Bartolo said.
“Thousands are leaving Libya and this is a recipe for a humanitarian disaster.”
“Desperate people are looking to the Meditteranean as their only escape.”
“The only realistic and sustainable option to avoid a humanitarian crisis and save the lives of men, women and children is if Europe sends a humanitarian mission to Libya with medicine and food for the people. Like this, people will have an incentive to stay in Libya instead of risking the Meditteranean sea.”
“The assistance from the EU has to be imminent, today not tomorrow.”
Libya is currently embroiled in a civil war that has seen hundreds of civilians flee to Europe by boat via the Meditterneanen sea. The issue has once again come to the fore of Malta’s foreign policy this week when the country declared its ports unsafe in light of migrants entering Malta’s SAR zone and the coronavirus spreading locally.
Bartolo made no mention of opening Malta’s ports to asylum seekers currently stranded in Maltese territorial waters.
He ended his speech by proposing the delivery of €100 million worth of food, medicines and equipment on behalf of the EU, which the Maltese government will support.