Correspondence shows Maltese government stonewalling official Libyan government over charge d’affaires
Official correspondence from the United Nations-recognised Libyan government – the Government of National Accord – seen by this newspaper, has shown how the Maltese government has been effectively stonewalling the government that it says it recognises.
The issue revolves around who, exactly, is the charge d’affaires for the recognised Libyan government – Hussein Musrati, who the GNC insists is its man in Malta, or Alhabib Alamin, who appears to be clinging somewhat tenuously to his position.
In one official letter addressed to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the United Nations officially-recognised Libyan Vice Prime Minister Ali al Qatrani informs Dr Muscat: “…kindly note that as from today 28 August 2016 Mr Alhabib Alamin no longer occupies the post of Charge d’Affaires of the Libyan Embassy to the Republic of Malta, and with immediate effect we inform you of the reappointment of Mr Hussein Musrati [diplomatic passport number provided] as the Charge d’Affaires of the Libyan Embassy to the Republic of Malta.
“While we thank you for your kind cooperation, please assist Mr Musrati to conduct his work to strengthen the historical brotherhood and economic relations between our peoples.”
On 14 September, Libyan Parliament President Agilah Saleh wrote to Dr Muscat personally referring to Mr al Qatrani’s letter in August and another followup letter from Mr Musrati, to complain about the fact that no replies had been forthcoming from the Maltese Foreign Affairs Ministry.
In the letter Mr Saleh refers clearly to “the appointment of Hussein Musrati” and “the termination of the services of Mr Alhabib Alamin as the Charge d’Affaires”.
“Mr Musrati,” the Libyan Parliament’s president writes, “informed the Libyan authorities that he sent all the letters mentioned as soon as he received them to their destination [the Maltese government], and till today there is no reply from the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We, the Libyan Parliament, the official representative of the Libyan people as per the declaration of the Libyan Constitution, hereby confirm the appointment of Mr Hussein Musrati as the Charge d’Affaires and the termination of the services of Alhabib Alamin with immediate effect with no further delays and his return back home to his previous job.”
Ironically, the Prime Minister is well-acquainted with Mr Saleh. Dr Muscat had, in fact, brought him to Malta along with Nuri Abu Sahmain last December to agree on a peace deal that never took shape.
In his own letter to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, as cited by Mr Saleh, dated 29 August 2016, Mr Musrati had requested “with immediate effect the suspension of the signature of Mr Alhabib Alamin with all commercial banks of Malta to avoid any abuse that could happen, till we give our instructions in writing to banks where the Libyan Embassy holds its accounts. I would appreciate your cooperation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr George Vella to explain and elaborate.”
In the years’ old battle over who, exactly, represents Libya in Malta, the Maltese government has repeatedly said it recognises the government recognised by the United Nations, a stance which appears to have changed over time for reasons unknown.