Joint oil exploration proposed to Libya and Italy

A proposal made to Malta’s neighbouring countries Italy and Libya was that the solution to the continental shelf issue could be an agreement for joint exploration, Foreign Affairs Minister Tonio Borg told parliament yesterday morning.

Dr Borg, who was speaking during the debate on the budget estimates for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said Malta had made this proposal to these two countries, with which there has been a long-standing issue on the matter.

He said Malta had made these concrete proposals, taking into consideration the sentenced handed down by the International Court of Justice in 1985, restricting the area to where Maltese and Libyan shores were directly opposite. However it only dealt with the delineation of a fraction of the area.

The government has always believed that joint exploration was the best option and made this proposal, he said, even though it will not be easy to get three countries to agree. Ultimately there is respect for one another and maturity, he said.

Turning to the situation in Libya, Dr Borg agreed with Labour MP George Vella, who said it did not make sense for the parties to attack one another on relations with a neighbouring country.

Nobody could have expected either government to ignore Libya for 42 years, he said, adding that the PL media had not held back from making similar allegations about the government.

Dr Borg clarified that although it was leaked that Malta dragged its feet on some sanctions imposed by the EU and the UN, this was not true. He explained that Malta only wanted to protect its interests, and requested that contracts made before the sanctions should not be negatively impacted.

The PN is not against neutrality, but rather the way its introduction in the Constitution was imposed, he said, adding that the situation today is the need to see which parts of the clause have been superseded by events.

Commenting on last week’s visit to the new Libyan government, he said it had been successful, and although improvement in law and order is important, the level of politicians is high.

He also pointed out that various enterprises have expressed their interest in Libya, and said that in fact there will soon be a commercial delegation paying a visit.

(Source: Malta Independent Online)

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