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Minister Michael Farrugia attends the 5+5 Defence Ministerial meeting in Rome, Italy

Reference Number: PR192645, Press Release Issue Date: Dec 13, 2019
Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Michael Farrugia participated in the 5+5 Defence Ministerial meeting in Rome, Italy, chaired by Libyan Deputy Minister of Defence Dr Engineer Salahedin Ali Namroush. The annual meeting is part of the Presidency of the 5+5 Defence Initiative where it serves as multilateral cooperation between the participating countries with a view to enhancing security in the Western Mediterranean region. 
Minister Michael Farrugia thanked Italian Minister of Defence Mr Lorenzo Guerini for hosting the participating countries in Italy and thanked Dr Salahedin Ali Namroush for succeeding in organising the Libyan Presidency of the 5+5 Defence Initiative despite the many challenges being faced. 
“It is with great pleasure that Malta today received the 5+5 Defence Initiative from the State of Libya. During the past year, we have seen a collaborative effort between the North and South Western Mediterranean littoral states aimed at fulfilling the ethos of the organisation and strengthening the voluntary understanding and cooperation with a sense of unity towards facilitating peace and security between our countries”, stated the minister. 
Minister Michael Farrugia highlighted that the 5+5 initiative has proven that cooperation between countries situated on the opposite shores of the Mediterranean is not only possible but feasible and practical. He continued that countries within the same region tend to have similar concerns arising from common security threats such as illicit trafficking including irregular migration and the ever-increasing impact of climate change. This makes cooperation in matters of defence not only a desirable need but also a pragmatic way forward where neighbours come together to share experiences and good practices, build confidence through constructive dialogue and enhance abilities to confront such threats. 
The minister emphasised that the Maltese presidency will continue to ensure that the momentum of cooperation will lead to a greater understanding of the present challenges and the creation of cooperative and interoperable activities for the protection and best interest of the citizens and the well-being of future generations. 
During the meeting, the participating ministers approved and signed the Ministers’ Joint Declaration on the 2020 Action Plan. At the end of the meeting, Malta was presented with the 5+5 Defence Presidency Initiative from Libya. 
In the margins of the meeting, Minister Michael Farrugia held a number of bilateral meetings and exchanged views with the ministers present. 
Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, and Tunisia are the participating countries of the 5+5 Defence Initiative.