Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg has once again appealed for both sides in the Libyan conflict to respect a ceasefire.

Speaking in Parliament commemorating Mediterranean Day, Dr Borg said it was important to strive for the end of violence and real ceasefire in every conflict. This didn’t mean that one approved killings or that one did not call for change in governing a country.

Foreign Minister Borg said that the revolution in Libya was different from the one in Tunisia and Egypt because it did not start in the capital city and there was a strong tribal element. The Tunisian revolution was secular.

The importance to commemorate Mediterranean Day was more relevant today in times of turmoil in neighbouring countries and in other Arab countries.

Maltese governments had always insisted that the Mediterranean region be given due importance. Today’s events collaborated this. The interest shown today from the EU countries and from international institutions should not be a reaction to a crisis but should be of a permanent nature.

On Malta’s insistence, Europe and the Arab League had started dialogue in Malta three years ago even though it had been at first difficult to start this process. This initiative should continue, said Dr Borg.

In Malta there was consensus on Mediterranean policy because Malta had a strong Mediterranean vocation even though it was European. It was a result of Malta’s initiative that European and Mediterranean security were linked.

At present there were six different international fora which dealt with Mediterranean issues. This included the Barcelona process, the “five plus five”, the olive group, the Mediterranean forum, the Euro-Med process together with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean which had its headquarters in Malta.

Malta was proud of its contribution to the Mediterranean process. It served as a centre for dialogue between Europe and the Arab League and enjoyed great reputation on initiatives for the region. It was hoped that this dialogue developed into a permanent one.

Minister Borg said that one could not ignore the Middle East issue because it affected the whole region. Innocent people were dying on both sides there. Life in Gaza was hell on earth.

It was unjust that the Palestinians were living as refugees in their own country. It was also wrong to kill innocent people on buses in Jerusalem. Everyone’s conscience dictated that this should stop and problems could only be solved with the commitment of the US and countries in the region, concluded Dr Borg.

Speaker Michael Frendo associated himself with the words expressed by the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean Sergio Piazza. In his letter to Parliament, Dr Piazza said that current events gave further relevance to Mediterranean Day and confirmed the role that each country had in securing peace, stability and prosperity in the region through solid democratic processes and full parliamentary representation of the citizens’ aspirations.

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