At the Foreign Affairs Council held in Brussels on 23 July 2012, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tonio Borg, appealed once again to the EU to assist Libya in border management. He welcomed the EU’s readiness to provide further assistance to the Libyan authorities, particularly in the areas of security and border management. EU Foreign Ministers held an exchange of views on the latest developments in Libya in light of the elections for the national general congress of 7 July 2012 and discussed EU assistance to Libya. The Deputy Prime Minister welcomed the significant changes brought about through the elections in Libya which should lead to the first democratically elected government by August. Dr Borg welcomed Mahmoud Jibril’s victory at the polls for the Constituent Assembly through elections conducted in a free and fair manner, and which is expected to lead to a secular and liberal coalition government. He also welcomed the fact that 16.5% of the seats of the constituent assembly were won by female candidates.
Further sanctions adopted against Syrian regime
The Foreign Affairs Council adopted another set of reinforced sanctions against the Syrian regime. Foreign Ministers strongly condemned the increasing use of force by the Syrian regime and reiterated their call for an immediate end to the killing of civilians, the withdrawal of the Syrian army from besieged towns and a peaceful end to the current crisis. They expressed their deep disappointment that despite the serious escalation of violence, the members of the UN Security Council could not agree on a resolution to add more effective and robust pressure to end the violence and allow for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The meeting also noted with concern the spill-over effects of the Syrian crisis in neighbouring countries and reiterated its support for the peace plan negotiated by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan. On 17 July 2012, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tonio Borg, condemned the violence taking place in Syria, stating that “these atrocious acts must not occur without impunity”.
The High Representative briefed Ministers on her visit to Egypt and her meeting with President Morsi. The Council affirmed the EU’s willingness to intensify its cooperation with Egypt acknowledging Egypt’s critical role in the region. The Council meeting also discussed developments in Sudan/South Sudan, Mali and the Sahel, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and held an exchange of views on energy and foreign policy underlining the importance of increasing coherence of EU energy policy with its external policies.
Malta supports the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s EU Membership
In a bilateral meeting held in Brussels on the same day between the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tonio Borg and his counterpart Nikola Poposki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Foreign Minister Borg reiterated Malta’s support towards Skopje’s EU perspective and augured that the EU candidate country gradually moves on to the opening of accession talks. Deputy Prime Minister Borg noted that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is becoming attractive to Maltese companies, with a Maltese IT company employing around 100 technology consultants, setting up office in the capital Skopje.
During the Council meeting, Malta’s delegation was led by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tonio Borg and assisted by the Director General for Political Affairs, Ms. Helga Mizzi.