PM fo­cuses on mi­gra­tion, need for peace in the Mediter­ranean re­gion in UN speech

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat fo­cused on mi­gra­tion and peace in the Mediter­ranean dur­ing his speech at the 71st ses­sion of the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York

Dr Mus­cat said the UN had con­sid­ered last year that mi­gra­tion had reached cri­sis lev­els.

“To­day we are in­creas­ingly re­al­is­ing that this phe­nom­e­non is set to be­come ‘a new nor­mal’ that needs to be man­aged. De­spite the dif­fi­cult de­bates, dis­cus­sions, stum­bling blocks and widely di­ver­gent view­points, it is en­cour­ag­ing to see how far we have come and how much we have found that which truly unites us, un­der­pinned by the most fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of sav­ing lives and up­hold­ing hu­man dig­nity.

“Nev­er­the­less, the proof of the pud­ding is in the eat­ing, and I must con­fess I am still doubt­ful that all the soft words will be met by hard facts. De­spite this, we owe it to ev­ery­one to give it a try.

“We need to re­spond to this chal­lenge, not with fear, not with dread, not by clos­ing our­selves within walls. But with tenac­ity, con­vic­tion and com­pas­sion. This is what drives my coun­try time and again to push for mi­gra­tion to be high on the agenda.”

Dr Mus­cat said peo­ple smug­glers should be put in the same cat­e­gory as some of the worst type of crim­i­nals, and must be treated as such.

“We should se­ri­ously con­sider a struc­ture where th­ese traf­fick­ers are brought to jus­tice in front of an in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal in or­der to drive home the mes­sage that we are not only look­ing at this tragedy from the hu­man­i­tar­ian as­pect, as it should be, but also from the se­cu­rity per­spec­tive, and that prof­it­ing from hu­man traf­fick­ing does not pay.

“Malta also be­lieves that there is no such thing as a uni­lat­eral so­lu­tion to this phe­nom­e­non. A global per­spec­tive is re­quired. Closer co­op­er­a­tion is es­sen­tial for and amongst the coun­tries of ori­gin, tran­sit and des­ti­na­tion.

“I am im­mensely pleased and en­cour­aged to see that the out­comes and spirit of the Val­letta Sum­mit live on, at least in words and in­ten­tions. Most ac­tions un­for­tu­nately still need to fol­low. As I have said, steps now need to be taken es­pe­cially by those coun­tries that bear the moral re­spon­si­bil­ity for mass move­ments, ei­ther through their ac­tions or lack of them.”

Dr Mus­cat said the sit­u­a­tion in the Mid­dle East has a huge bear­ing on that of our re­gion and the whole world. “It pains me to dwell on the fact that we are still nowhere near a so­lu­tion to the Mid­dle East Peace Process.

“In our most im­me­di­ate neigh­bour­hood, Malta has been and will con­tinue to sup­port its neigh­bour Tu­nisia to­wards sta­bil­ity and democ­racy. De­spite fac­ing se­ri­ous chal­lenges, Tu­nisia is grad­u­ally emerg­ing as the first, al­beit frag­ile, Arab democ­racy. But for it to suc­ceed, it is im­por­tant that Tu­nisia is not aban­doned by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity right at this crit­i­cal junc­ture. Yet while Tu­nisia of­fers hope, the over­all pic­ture in Libya con­tin­ues to be bleak. Nev­er­the­less, I must re­mark the im­por­tant, in­cre­men­tal pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments.

“In spite of the progress how­ever, the sit­u­a­tion re­mains frag­ile. The Libyan pop­u­la­tion needs a con­cretely func­tion­ing Gov­ern­ment that ad­dresses their ba­sic needs – proper med­i­ca­tion, food se­cu­rity and ed­u­ca­tion. We stand be­hind the Libyan peo­ple’s ef­forts to trans­form Libya into a safe, demo­cratic, and uni­fied state, with a rec­on­ciled peo­ple, where state au­thor­ity and the rule of law are re­stored. I am cer­tain that this is the dream of the Libyans them­selves. We re­it­er­ate the need to re­main sup­port­ive of the Libyan Peace Ac­cord and the Pres­i­dency Coun­cil, while re­spect­ing Libyan sovereignty and tak­ing into ac­count Libyan own­er­ship.”

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