At the United Nations on Wednesday (8 October) Malta fired another shot at Libya in the war of words over drilling rights in the Mediterranean Sea.
GV General Assembly of UN
GV Chairman of Maltese Delegation to UN, Victor Gauci, speaking in English (4 shots)
GAUCI: "Malta was at the receiving end of the confrontation in the Mediterranean and has suffered bitterly as a result of action taken against it by a country which professes to be Malta's best friend. I will not repeat all the details of the incident as the matter is before the Security Council. I only mention that we have spent eight years of expensive and wearisome negotiations with Libya to no avail. For four years Libya has delayed ratification of a painstakingly negotiated agreement to refer the matter for ratification adjudication by legal process. Faced with these delaying tactics Malta finally decided on the advice of several friendly countries, consulted in advance, to authorise exploration activities well within its own half of the median line separating Libya and Malta. Without explanation, without reason, Libya sent armed naval forces and insisted on a cessation of the peaceful and legitimate activities so vital for Malta's economic viability on the unfounded pretext that the area of operations was a, quote: "Dispute area", unquote. Libya, or any other country for that matter, cannot apply two weights and two measures once it has exploited resources on its half of the median line. It simply cannot deny the exercise of the same rights to Malta by using force to impede our legitimate activities on our own half. We, for our part, have not presumed to impede lawful Libyan activities, but they have and say that they intend to continue to do so." In the circumstances which Libya has provoked our only honourable course is as a peace loving country, and after all efforts at good offices have been frustrated, was to seek the protection of the Security Council instead of answering threat by counter-threat."
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Background: At the United Nations on Wednesday (8 October) Malta fired another shot at Libya in the war of words over drilling rights in the Mediterranean Sea. Malta has been at odds with the Libyan Jamahiriyah ever since August (1980) when Libyan warships stopped an Italian oil rig from drilling in disputed waters, 70 miles south-east of Malta. The country's delegate at the UN, Victory Gauci, condemned Libya's actions and said the honourable course was for Malta to seek Security Council protection instead of answering threat with threat.