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MP links migration with Libya oil plans

Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said yesterday the Libyans could be using illegal immigration to put pressure on the Maltese authorities to limit the island's territorial waters.

He argued that if Malta reduced its "enormous" search and rescue zone, Libya could then leverage a reduction of the territorial waters, which, in turn, would mean that Tripoli would be able to use the area to drill for oil.

"At the moment we are hypothesizing, although certain facts are being handed to me... Libya will definitely gain from this because it depends almost completely on oil and our waters have enormous potential for oil," he said.

Dr Pullicino Orlando was speaking on 60 Minuta, a television programme on Favourite Channel, aired last night.

"Could it be that they are putting extra pressure on us by using these poor people so we would consider reducing our (territorial) waters," Dr Pullicino Orlando asked.

When asked whether he was convinced of this theory, Dr Pullicino Orlando said he had heard it before from "very responsible people" and the facts he was recently shown continued to confirm it.

Dr Pullicino Orlando had spoken candidly about illegal immigration in two articles published on The Times, where he said Malta should consider opting out of its international obligations and start sending migrants back.

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