Mahmoud Jibril, the prime minister of the Libyan provisional government, arrived in Malta this evening and said it was an honour for him to visit such an ally of the Libyan people.

He said before talks with Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi that one of his government's priorities was to ensure that illegal immigration was not used for the infiltration of  'Gaddafi's thugs' on Maltese soil.

Mr Jibril was greeted by Dr Gonzi at the top of the stairs outside the Auberge de Castille.

Before going into the Cabinet Room for talks, Mr Jibril signed the Visitors' Book. He wrote in English: "It is really a great honour to come to this friendly ally to express thanks and gratitude for the Maltese government and people for all the support they provided to our people in Libya during the historic uprising." 

At the opening of the talks, Mr Jibril mentioned security and said illegal immigration was a concern for both countries, adding that Libya also wanted to ensure that immigration was not used by 'Gaddafi thugs' to escape.

He also mentioned cooperation in training and tourism among other priorities. 

Dr Gonzi said this meeting was important to identify the priorities of the Libyan people. He reiterated Malta's commitment to channel humanitarian aid to Libya and said that Malta would shortly also send a trade delegation to Libya.

Dr Gonzi is accompanied at the talks by Finance Minister Tonio Fenech and Malta's Permanent Representative to the EU, Richard Cachia Caruana.

The Libyan Prime Minister is accompanied by the Ambassador to Malta, Saduun Suayeh.

Castille Square was closed off just before Mr Jibril arrived, and there was a strong police presence. An ambulance was on-site.

Maltese flags and Libyan Independence flags fluttered from the lamp posts at Castille Square.

Mr Jibril is on his way back to Libya from Paris, where he yesterday attended the Friends of Libya conference, which was also attended by Dr Gonzi.

A joint press conference will be held later today.

The last high profile Libyan visitor at Castille was Abdelati al-Obeidi, Muammar Gaddafi's foreign minister, who was here on April 4. Mr al-Obeidi was arrested by Libyan rebels two days ago. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us