The number of migrants who landed in Malta between March and August this year is less than half of the number in 2019, Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo said.
This year, in the six months that have just ended, the number of arrivals was 1,093. In the same period last year, the number was 2,216, Bartolo wrote on Facebook this morning.
One reason for this drop, according to Bartolo, is that some 3,500 irregular migrants who left Libya and were on their way to Malta were picked up by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Libya. This was possible through the work carried out jointly between Malta, the National Unity Government in Libya and Turkey.
Another reason is that the Maltese government did not allow migrants picked up by NGOs to disembark in Malta. Last year, these had brought 771 migrants, Bartolo said.
Some 7,000 migrants have landed in Lampedusa, he added, as the number of boats leaving Libya this year was four times as many as those of last year.
Bartolo said the government will continue to insist with the European Union to be of assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard.
Il-jum it-tajjeb. Bejn Marzu u Awwissu ta’ din is-sena rnexxielna li fostna jaslu nofs in-numru ta’ immigrant rregulari…
Original article found on The Malta Independent