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Updated; Malta offers AFM participation in Libya-Italy migration patrols

Malta has offered participation by AFM personnel should joint patrols against illegal immigration be started between Italy and Libya, Foreign Minister Tonio Borg said today.

Speaking in Rome after a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, he said that the patrols are expected to start in May. They would be useful to Malta, he said, because the patrols would be carried out within Libyan territorial waters which was different from rescuing migrants in distress in international waters.

Dr Borg said the issue of illegal migration is also expected to be discussed in Tripoli by Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici and he too expectedc to have a meeting with the Libyan Foreign Minister.

Dr Borg is accompanying President Fenech Adami who today met Italian President Georgio Napolitano.

Dr Borg said the focus of talks was bilateral relations, illegal migration and regional cooperation.

The Foreign Minister this morning had a meeting with Under-Secretary Vincenzo Scotti during which they signed an updated double taxation avoidance agreement. The first agreement was signed in 1981.

Dr Borg said the updated agreement would further encourage and facilitate business relations between the two countries and improve cooperation on taxation issues.

Italy is one of Malta’s most important trading partners. Malta imported €802 million in products from Italy last year while exports had a value of €102 million. There are 25 Italian companies in Malta.

Sig Scotti said Malta had been invited and would attend a trade promotion meeting with Latin American countries in December. The meeting will be held in Milan.

President Eddie Fenech Adami will have an audience with Pope Benedict tomorrow.

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