The Maltese Prime Minister, Dom Mintoff, told a rally in Valetta on Friday (5 September) that his country's relations with Libya were bad.
GV Fortress on Malta ZOOM OUT AND PAN TO GV Crowd
TILT DOWN Wall covered with election posters and decorations on sides of buildings (3 shots)
GV Crowd applauding
TV Mintoff mounting platform TILT UP To crowd
GV Rostrum and Mintoff speaking and CU (2 shots)
GV AND PAN Crowd listening as Mintoff speaks (2 shots)
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Background: The Maltese Prime Minister, Dom Mintoff, told a rally in Valetta on Friday (5 September) that his country's relations with Libya were bad. This follows a dispute between the tow countries over oil drilling rights in the Mediterranean Sea. As a result of the rift Malta is reported to be looking to Italy to replace aid previously supplied by Libya.
SYNOPSIS: Mr Mintoff addressed the rally in Valetta at a critical time for Malta. Its alliance with Libya is shaky following an incident in the Mediterranean in August this year when Libyan warships surrounded an Italian-owned oil rig and stopped it drilling. Malta retaliated by expelling Libyan military personnel from the island. The drilling area, 70 miles (110 km) south-east of Malta, is claimed by both countries.
On Wednesday (3 September) Mr Mintoff flew to Rome to try to forge an alliance with Italy, after the disagreement with her ally of nine-years standing. Mr Mintoff hinted that Italy wanted Malta to change its non-aligned status, but he said there was no question of the island calling for outside military help.
Mr Mintoff went on to say that his island state's relations with the Libyan Jamahiriyah were bad and would not improve until Malta was allowed to explore for oil in the disputed area. Malta insists that the 200 miles (335 kilometres) of Mediterranean Sea which separates Italy and Libya is its own. The issue is now before the United Nations Security Council, following a complaint by Malta.