The leader of the Libyan Jamahiriyah, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been visiting Malta, after touring eastern Europe.
The leader of the Libyan Jamahiriyah, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been visiting Malta, after touring eastern Europe. During his three-day stay Colonel Gaddafi discussed a variety of problems with Prime Minister Don Mintoff including oil supplies and military bases.
SYNOPSIS: The Libyan Head of State was met at Luqa Airport by Maltese President Dr. Anton Buttigieg and other government officials. He also received a rousing welcome from Libyans living in Malta, most of whom are students.
The arrival ceremonies included a gun salute, the presentation of the Diplomatic Corps and an inspection of the armed forces of the Malta Guard of Honour. In the past the Jamahiriyah has sold oil to Malta at a very cheap rate.
After the ceremonies, Colonel Gaddafi left to begin his first round of talks with the Prime Minister. They were to concentrate on oil supplies and co-operative ventures, including a possible joint airline. The median line between the two countries will also be discussed, because a dispute has held up Malta's offshore oil exploration.
On Sunday (2 July) after laying the foundation stone of the Mosque and Islamic centre of Corradino serving the ever increasing Islamic community in Malta, Colonel Gaddafi attended a public meeting in Valletta. Organised by the Malta Labour Party it was addressed by both Mr. Mintoff and Colonel Gaddafi. Mr. Mintoff said that he would look exclusively to the Arabs for economic help when British bases in Malta finally close in 1979, unless Europeans stop bickering over his island state. He said Italy, France, Algeria and the Libyan Jamahiriyah had been asked to guarantee the Maltese economy when the British move out, ending a 178-year presence on the island.
The Prime Minister went on to say that the Libyans and Algerians had already agreed to guarantee the Maltese economy, but the Europeans were bickering and unless they soon reached a decision, he would seek agreement with the Arab countries alone. Colonel Gaddafi said that Libya would never establish military bases on Malta, but that there were strategic reasons for the Libyans to ensure Maltese economic and political freedom.