Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi congratulated the newly elected head of the Libyan Congress, Mohammed Magarief, saying it was a “historic” moment.

In a letter to Dr Magarief, Dr Gonzi referred to a meeting between the two last March during the uprising against former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“There was no doubt in my mind that you would play a fundamental role in the rebuilding of Libya and its integration into the international fold as a democratic and respected partner” Dr Gonzi said.

Dr Magarief had travelled to Malta “literally minutes” after launching his political party. “We were both optimistic that the Libyan people will rise to the occasion and participate fully in the democratic process,” Dr Gonzi said.

The Libyan people showed the world they could pull together for the common good, he added.

Dr Gonzi said Malta stood “side by side” with the Libyan people and time had proven that “we stood on the right side of history”.

Dr Magarief’s election brought a “great moral responsibility to steer Libya into a new era”. “I have no doubt that you are up for the challenge,” Dr Gonzi added.

Malta would be a neighbour but, “above all”, a good friend.

“The foundations for this relationship are strong and, with you at the helm, I have no doubt will become stronger for the benefit of both our countries,” Dr Gonzi said.

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